Photography exhibit kicks off Native American Heritage Month at CHHS

One photo from the exhibit.

On Friday, Nov. 1, the College of Health and Human Services unveiled a new photography installation in its second floor art gallery. Standing Rock: Photographs of an Indigenous Movement is a series of photographs of Native American resistance to the Dakota Access oil pipeline. American Indian journalist Levi Rickert covered the events of Standing Rock for Native News Online, of which he is publisher and editor. The results of his photo-journalist work yielded more than 1,500 photographs that capture the intensity of the movement.

The installation was officially opened with brief remarks from Dr. Ron Cisler, dean of the College of Health and Human Services; Dr. Jennifer Harrison, interim director of WMU's School of Social Work; and Dr. Dee Sherwood, faculty in the School of Social Work.

Rickert (Potawatomi) knew that the Standing Rock resistance represented the largest American Indian movement since the 1973 Wounded Knee. He covered the emergence of the movement from Standing Rock to Washington, D.C. to the steps of Michigan’s capitol. At the installation opening, he spoke eloquently about his many trips to Standing Rock and about his efforts to shine a light on the struggles of the resistance movement.

The college welcomed Bardwell, Rickert and Hill (4th, 5th and 6th from left) to the Nov. 1 installation opening.

Other speakers at the opening included Belinda Bardwell, former Tribal Council woman and member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and Paula Hill, alumna of WMU's Bronson School of Nursing and member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

The photographs will be on display in the second floor art gallery space in the CHHS building throughout the month of November.

Native American Heritage Month activities

The photography installation at the College of Health and Human Services was the first of a number of events related to Native American Heritage Month.

  • A Conversation with Native American Activists: Lessons in Healing, Resistance & Leadership
    Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the WMU Bernhard Center Ballroom. Click for flier.
    Featuring traders and vendors, smudge ceremony, drums, speakers and a book signing.
  • Standing Rock: Photographs of an Indigenous Movement
    Monday, Nov. 25 from 1 to 5 p.m. in room 4010 at the College of Health and Human Services. Click for flier.
    Levi Rickert will speak at 4 p.m. about Standing Rock and how it relates to the current fight about the Enbridge pipeline. Traders and vendors will be on-site all afternoon. From 1:30 to 3:30 the Gun Lake Tribe will offer free on-site mental health screenings.

Both of these events are free and open to the public.