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Contributions by Theodore C. Van Alst Jr.:

“Let’s Say”

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Collaborators’ Q&A What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to Bryce’s poem? Artist Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.: The way this stretch of the river pulled the sky in, pulled the blue up, made the pulse visible, rendered this vein of the earth one of the “rivers buried beneath your feet” wherever we may go. What led you to this poem about the Actions at Standing Rock? Poet Bryce Emley: …

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“Indigenous Kinship Systems”

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Collaborators’ Q&A What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to Jenny’s poem? Artist Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.: Jenny Davis’s poignant reflection on the pain inflicted on our relatives, human and others, tells us that even in the face of those violent actions our kinship networks can save us, and the hands that made these marks on the home of the little school remind me of that fact in ways …

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“Camp of Prophecy”

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Collaborators’ Q&A 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 …

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“Stand”

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Collaborators’ Q&A What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to the Actions at Standing Rock? Artist Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.: I took this picture of the sun setting as we were heading north away from the camp, and I knew we too would all return. The white weight is as inevitable as the brown resistance, the sun’s setting as inevitable as its rising. What led you to this poem …

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“Shadow Road”

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Collaborators’ Q&A What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to Gabrielle’s poem about the Actions at Standing Rock? Artist Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.: The “panoramic vistas” / “South Dakota” / “red road” all pulled my eye, all led to memories of the “prayer song(s),” the prayer actions that focused so many, in such real ways, and the photo is of the road where we sang. What led you to …

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“Snake Dance”

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Collaborators’ Q&A What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to the Actions at Standing Rock? Artist Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.: The light on that stretch of the river that day made me think of the coming winter with hope, the cleansing scour of the north wind, the soft pink of the bluffs and banks surrounding the icy blue of the water presaging Peg Duthie’s December reflection. What led you …

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“Night Watch, Cannonball North Dakota”

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Collaborators’ Q&A What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to Claire’s poem? Artist Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.: This work made me think of the helicopter and plane that circled us, made me think back to what that being watched must have been like for the ancestors, and what has always been the fear that the settlers and their armies had then, have now, and cannot or will not lose. …

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