Acclaimed photographer, Aaron Huey, has partnered with visual artist Ernesto Yerena, and “the most prolific street artist working in America”, Shepard Fairey, on an incredible new street art project to raise awareness about the long history of broken treaties between Indigenous Peoples and the United States of America.
The project is titled simply: Honor the Treaties.
Following Huey’s incredible photographic campaign and TED talk last fall, America’s Native Prisoners of War, which documented the Lakota people and the Pine Ridge Reservation in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Huey launched the Pine Ridge Billboard Project to bring to light the Lakota’s “real history of broken treaties, of prisoner of war camps, and massacres” by taking the story of the Lakota and other tribes fighting for treaty rights straight to the public in the form of street posters, subway advertising, and billboards.
Forgoing the art gallery exhibition of his photographs or royalties from the sale of his prints to mainstream media publications, Huey has opted to “illuminate a hidden history and empower a community” by making his images available to the public to take the streets and poster their cities’ walls, alleys, buildings, and corners with screenprinted posters produced in collaboration between Huey, Yerena, and Fairey.
The Honor the Treaties project website offers three simple directives: download, share, and educate.
After printing the beautifully-illustrated posters of Huey’s photographs, the public is encouraged to post and paste them in their communities, submit photographs to the project’s Tumblr, and continue the discussion about treaty rights and Indigenous Struggles on the project’s Facebook page.
SEATTLE AND NEW YORK
Since February, Huey and his crew have been spreading the word online and enlisting the public’s participation—and the results have been incredible.
The project is now fully up and running and the posters have begun to appear all over Seattle and New York City.
DailyKOS has a great set of images posted up in NY and Seattle: Pine Ridge Poster Project Up & Running [DailyKOS]
It’s inspiring to see non-Indigenous artists working in support of Indigenous struggles—and a street art campaign like this one seems to be a perfect way to inform and educate the public, while building community amongst those dedicated to justice, freedom, and the liberation of our peoples.
As Huey quotes in his introductory video:
The last chaper in any successful genocide is the one in which the oppressor can remove their hands and say, “My god, what are these people doing to themselves. They’re killing each other. They’re killing themselves.”
Honor the Treaties is an art project to counter this dominant, genocidal narrative by inspiring, re-educating and empowering people to learn more about the ongoing colonization of Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island and beyond.
Have you seen Honor the Treaties posters in your city or community? Post links to photos, images, and articles in the comments below.
Here’s Aaron Huey talking about the inspiration behind the project and where it’s headed:
See other recent coverage of the project:
Honor the Treaties [The Stranger]
Honor the Treaties: Street Art Pushes for Accountability [Native American Legal Update]