„I have adviced my people this way: When you find anything good on the white man‘s road, pick it up, when you find anything that is bad or turns out bad, drop it and leave it alone!“ Sitting Bull, Häuptling der Hunkpapa-Lakota-Sioux
Western films, dime-store novels, and a highly romanticized view of nature have shaped the stereotypical images of Native Americans that survive to this day. The outdated, media-manufactured clichés include all the usual motifs: prairie, feathered headdresses, peace pipes, and “wild Indians.” But in reality, this ethnic minority currently faces a situation marked by forced assimilation, occupational and social disintegration, and the loss of their own cultural values and identity—an insidious, bloodless, twentieth-century genocide.
Photographer Markus Klingenhäger sought to explore the intersection between Native American tradition and the white American way of life among the Lakota Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. In addition to depicting their poverty, displacement, and constant struggle for recognition, Klingenhäger’s photographs present a nuanced, up-to-date picture of the Native Americans that also shows their great pride and dignity.