Over the weekend there was another flare-up between protesters and police near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Thousands of people are protesting the construction of an oil pipeline that would put drinking water for Standing Rock in harm’s way. Last night police opened water cannons on protesters in freezing temperatures, to quell what they deemed to be riotous conditions.
Cybelle Codish is a Detroit-based photographer who went to Standing Rock two weeks ago to document the struggle.
“We knew that we had to say something about it… and tell this story,” says Codish, who went with a partner in her work. She says they quickly found they didn’t have the appetite to take lots of photographs.
“It was one of those experiences for me, as a photographer, that I couldn’t take photos,” she says. “Not everything needs to be photographed, some things just need to be experienced.”
Codish says she tried to be intentional with when and how she photographed the peaceful setting.
Codish says when they arrived on the scene in North Dakota she saw tepees erected, small fires burning for warmth, the smell of sage in the air, dogs barking, laundry hanging, people walking down to the water to give spiritual offerings.
Codish says the people at the Standing Rock protest view themselves as protectors, not protesters.
To hear more from Codish on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.