Desert and Moon
Photograph by Anissa Martin
National Geographic's Pine Ridge Photo Camp asked a group of youths from South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation to present a portrait of their community's efforts to reconnect their cultural identity to the natural environment.
Guided by National Geographic contributing photographer Maggie Steber, the high school students, all active in the SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club, spent four days in July 2008 photographing, writing, and discussing the importance of nature in their lives.
Here, a student in a moving vehicle captures a striking desert scene with the moon over a sandstone ridge.
Hands Forming a Heart Shape
Photograph by Stephanie Clifford
An award-winning photographer, Maggie Steber walked her Photo Camp students through the use of camera equipment and photographic techniques and discussed how to develop a photographic vision.
Here, student Stephanie Clifford used an interesting perspective to frame a pair of hands in the shape of a heart within the landscape of her reservation.
Crosses and Graves
Photograph by Chaz Thompson
Students at Pine Ridge Photo Camp learned the art of telling a story not only with their photography but also with their writing. In the end, their work was compiled into a multimedia show.
This view of a family burial plot is particularly poignant in Pine Ridge, where poverty and poor health have driven life expectancy there to some of the lowest levels in the country.
Photograph by Denna Andrews
Located in southwest South Dakota, the Pine Ridge Reservation is home to the Oglala Lakota Native American tribe. It is the eighth largest reservation in the United States and home to the nation's poorest county.
Wrote one camp participant: "Our lives may be crappy, we may not be with our mom or dad, but we still are strong people, and we're connected with every native, no matter where we may come from!"
Here, Photo Camp student Denna Andrews captures her own pensive gaze in this self-portrait through a window at nighttime.
Photograph by Angel Broken Nose
Pine Ridge Photo Camp students were tasked with documenting the rich culture of their community, like these singers at the Oglala Powwow, held on the reservation.
Native American Man
Photograph by Katie Zacher
A Native American man dressed in traditional attire prepares for a dancing competition at the Oglala Powwow at the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Native American Storyteller
Photograph by Juliana Alford
Photo Camp participants heard about the importance of cultural heritage and respect from storyteller Enos Poor Bear, a guide at the White River Visitors Center in Badlands National Park.
Girl Feeding Buffalo
Photograph by Bert Montileaux
Once a staple of the Native American diet, bison were hunted to near extinction by white settlers in the 19th century. Some believe reintroducing bison meat as a source of protein could help combat chronically poor health on U.S. reservations.
Here, a young girl feeds a bison at a Pine Ridge ranch owned by "Poker Joe" Merribal.
Buffalo in a Field
Photograph by Tori Buckman
The theme of Pine Ridge Photo Camp was the environment and conservation.
Bison, like this pair grazing near a field of crops, no longer cover the American West, but are still an important part of Native American culture.
Sunset Over Rocks
Photograph by Anthuny Broken Nose
There was ample time for fun at Pine Ridge Photo Camp. Here, a playful shot makes a T. rex figurine appear to lord over South Dakota's Badlands National Park.