Inside Standing Rock is a photo essay of Syracuse photographer Alex Hāmer’s coverage of the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. Hāmer, whose mother is Oneida, traveled to the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock with a group of Haudenosaunee in August 2016, on assignment as a correspondent for Indian Country Media Network. The DAPL threatens the sacred lands of the Lakota Sioux Indians and the water that flows through the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and ignited a national movement.
Hāmer has woven his personal experiences as a photojournalist, activist, and father to create this poignant look at the largest meeting of Native Americans in more than 100 years. He illustrates his first visit to Standing Rock, where the scene was harmonious, with people from all walks of life united in the goal of opposition and peaceful demonstration.
After traveling to Washington D.C. to cover a federal court case involving the DAPL and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Hāmer returned to Oceti Sakowin in September. His work from the second trip includes a look at a rally led by the Indigenous Youth Council in Bismarck, ND, where a peaceful presence was met by police in riot gear. Despite the mounting tension, Hāmer captured the overall feeling of guarded optimism among the thousands of people at the camp, when he finished his assignment in the fall.