John Willis

South Dakota, United States

John Willis will partner with the Lakota Circle Village, the Lakota Peace Making Court, and KILI Radio Voice of the Lakota Nation to address how outsider representations of native people and culture have been internalized by Lakota living on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. Willis will use images from his body of work, Views from the Reservation, as a catalyst for intergenerational discussions on the values that are missing from these existing mainstream narratives. Through storytelling workshops, youth will learn photography, writing, audio, and video to create their own stories about what it means to be Lakota today. These projects will be exhibited at community centers throughout Pine Ridge Reservation and KILI Radio will host a series of interviews with participants.

Willis and his partners hope to create an opportunity for young people to honor and utilize elders as living resources of oral-based Lakota language, tradition, and history. In turn, they hope youth will learn to more clearly and proudly articulate their Lakota identity.