What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to Lois’s poem?
Artist Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.: “Camp” seems obvious, and there are many photos, but for this pairing, I felt that in this particular photograph, the light and the cast of the air imparted the “necessary dialogue of the prophesy, of sharing sage and tobacco smoke,” so beautifully implied by Lois Red Elk Reed.
What led you to this poem about the Actions at Standing Rock?
Poet Lois Red Elk/Reed: I have a long standing connection to Standing Rock. My Great grandmother was a full-blood Hunkpapa from Standing Rock. I have land there and many relatives. I also live along the Mni Sose (Missouri River) here on my reservation at Ft. Peck in Montana where the Missouri begins. So the actions at Standing Rock is about protecting blood, land and water. Being raised by grandparents I heard many old time prophesies, one of them was about a large threatening snake.
What do you think is the role of art in regards to real-world, real-time events? In other words, what makes a “successful” occasional or political piece of writing or art?
Poet Lois Red Elk/Reed: In my Dakota/Lakota culture, I belong to a traditional Dream Society. I had a dream about Standing Rock and although I cannot share all the contents or details, the dream opened a portal for me to share some of my culture and traditions through poetry with a larger audience. Poetry transcends many kinds of barriers.
Note: This is a Broadsided Press “Responses” feature in which we ask writers and artists to create work in response to a contemporary issue, question, or concern. In this case, the 2016-2017 #NoDAPL Water Protectors at Standing Rock.