Cloth w/CD $50.00 ISBN: 9781935195122 Published September 2010

Views from the Reservation

John Willis

John Willis

Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press

With an Essay by Kent Nerburn
184 pages | 36 color plates, 80 duotones | 10 x 11 | © 2010
Cloth w/CD $50.00 ISBN: 9781935195122 Published September 2010
Professor and photographer John Willis is well aware of the exploitation that sometimes occurs when photographers enter impoverished communities for a project. So, in 1992, when he first traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwest corner of South Dakota, he assured the elders of the Oglala Lakota Sioux that he would not be exhibiting any of the images he took while there. Over time, however, Willis earned the respect and trust of the community, and the elders—hoping that the photographs might bring aid to their community—urged him to show his work.

The product of several visits to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Views from the Reservation is meant to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to the life, culture, and conditions of the Oglala Lakota people. With his insightful and complex images Willis enlists several other voices to offer a more complete story: writer Kent Nerburn, who contributes an original essay; Lakota elders and Pine Ridge High School students, who offer poems; Emil Her Many Horses, the associate curator of the National Museum of the American Indian, Kevin Gover, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, and Oglala Lakota artist Dwayne Wilcox. Accompanying the book is Heartbeat of the Rez, a compact disc collecting traditional songs compiled by the author, the elders, and KILI, the radio station of the reservation.

Ken Burns

“This is a beautiful, painful book: a soulful reminder of a dark part of our past and present; an elegant road to a better future.”

Linda Connor, San Francisco Art Institute
“John Willis’s book looks to redefine a special place—the Pine Ridge Reservation—and, in doing so, offers a new model for tackling the issues of place, communities, and history. The mix of Willis’s photographs, historical and archival images, student poetry, artifacts, documents, and essays constitute a very rich assemblage. With such diversity, we can only attempt to negotiate a knowing and be open to things we do not expect to see.”
Henry Hornstein, Rhode Island School of Design

Views from the Reservation is amazing—incredible pictures and heartfelt stories perfectly told. This is not only a terrific photo book, but also a very important one, telling a story needing to be told and preserving a significant piece of our history. Every photograph is a classic: carefully seen, lovingly captured, and painstakingly executed.”

Mitakuye Oyasin: Opening Prayer

Views from the Reservation

Listening to the Meadowlark's Song
   by Kent Nerburn

A Journey Home
   by Emil Her Many Horses

The Ceremony Acknowledging the 175th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
   by Kevin Gover

Ledger Drawings by Dwayne Wilcox

Reddest Family Album

Artist's Statement

Mitakuye Oyasin: Closing Prayer

Notes on Selected Plates
List of Poems
List of Songs
About the Author
About the Essayist
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