Erin Lefevre

Documentary photographer and teacher
  
Decolonizing Water
Location: Astoria, New York
Nationality: American
Biography: Erin Lefevre is a documentary photographer from New York City whose work focuses on under-reported social issues. Erin studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned her Associate Degree in Photography. She then transferred to... MORE
Public Story
Decolonizing Water
Copyright Erin Lefevre 2022
Updated Sep 2020
Location Standing Rock
Topics Activism, Capitalism, Climate Change, Conservation, Documentary, Editorial, Environment, Essays, Minority, Oil, Oppression, Peacekeeping, Photography, Photojournalism, Portraiture, Poverty, Protests, Water, Youth
“Mni Wiconi” or “Water is Life” is a belief held by Indigenous people that gained mainstream media recognition in 2016 during the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In 2016, the Indigenous people living on the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota led one of the largest nonviolent resistance movements against the 1,172 mile-long pipeline. This resistance movement united hundreds of Indigenous tribes across the world with environmental activists and scientific researchers. They all lived on a camp in the Standing Rock reservation, known as Sacred Stone Camp. The movement against DAPL highlighted the lack of representation Native Americans have in the mainstream media and how often this population is excluded from national dialogue. After seeing a stark difference in how the "water protectors" were being portrayed in mainstream media coverage versus the citizen journalism being streamed online, I wanted to photograph the daily, intimate moments both within the camp and on the front-lines. The Dakota Access Pipeline movement is a painful reminder of the United States history of colonialism and its perpetuation in present-day times.
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