Portraits of Protest: The Women of Standing Rock • Alessandra Sanguinetti • Magnum Photos

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Portraits of Protest: The Women of Standing Rock

Alessandra Sanguinetti photographs the women from various tribes who came together in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Alessandra Sanguinetti

Alessandra Sanguinetti Shaionna Ziegler, after a ceremony that took place on a Dakota Access Pipeline work site on October 10, Indigenous People’s Day. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos

In late 2016, protestors stood against the construction of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline – a $3.8 billion project, which would transport 570,000 barrels of oil a day across four states, through lands sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and underneath the Missouri River, which supplies of drinking water for 17 million Americans. In an unprecedented coming together of many different groups, tribes from all over America came to the site protest the pipeline’s construction. Their acts of resistance included prayer and occupying the land. Magnum’s Alessandra Sanguinetti photographed the women protestors from the Native groups, which are traditionally matriarchal, and refer to the Earth in feminine terms – “Grandmother Earth.” Sanguinetti’s portraits portray the strength of the women protestors, and acknowledge a simultaneously deeply felt connection to both the weight of their ancestral history and their responsibility towards their children and the future.

In December 2016, after months of protest the US government has initially announced it would halt construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline due to environmental concerns. Two months later, under orders from recently-inaugurated President Trump, the Army Corps of Engineers announced they would close down the prayer camps – Magnum’s Larry Towell photographed the emotional acceptance and final throes of resistance.

Alessandra Sanguinetti Native Americans demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline. North Dakota, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Aztec dancers after a prayer ceremony at Oceti Sakowin Camp. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Ta'sina Sapawin confronted by police during a prayer ceremony at the Dapl construction site. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti A water protector preparing to join Honor the Earth’s spiritual ride at Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti USA. Standing Rock, ND. 2016. Native Americans demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline. Cierra, a Comanche from Oklahoma. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Native Americans demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Native Americans demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline. North Dakota, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Native Americans demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Native Americans demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Siuox tribe member taking a break from police watch during a prayer ceremony. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Tara Houska is a citizen of Couchiching First Nation, a tribal attorney, the national campaigns director of Honor the Earth, and cofounder of NotYourMascots.org. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Native Americans demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline. North Dakota, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti Prairie McLaughlin of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at Sacred Stone Camp. Standing Rock, ND, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti North Dakota, USA. 2016. © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos