This project was started by Ken Marchionno in 2004. It is a community engaged effort with Lakota Tribes in South Dakota to image a nearly three-hundred-mile memorial horseback ride to the sight of the Wounded Knee massacre. Working with teens and young adults from three reservations, side by side archiving the annual event, they offer daily images back to the tribe, through social media as the event unfolds. The work offers a respectful representation of a contemporary event that is designed to empower, and the images offer an alternative narrative to the type of imagery that exploits the high levels of poverty found on the reservation. The typical poverty porn methodology practiced by most photographers who visit the reservation does little to ameliorate the negative effects of transgenerational trauma experienced by native peoples. This project works against that tradition.

The work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the US, Europe, and Asia. In 2009, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian licensed images by Ken and three teens from Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Reservations for their traveling exhibition Song for a Horse Nation. In 2011, work from the project was shown at the US Embassy in Prague. Along with the exhibition, two teens traveled with Ken and speak at the embassy in what was the best attended presentation in recent history. Also in 2011, two images were published in Robert Hirsch’s Exploring Color Photography.  In 2017, a comprehensive exhibition of the project was mounted in Southern California, at the Orange Coast College’s Frank M Doyle Arts Pavilion in Costa Mesa. And from 2017 through 2019, photos and videos produced by teens in the project have been on exhibit at the MachmitMuseum Für Kinder in Berlin, Germany. 

The still photographs in this collection were taken by Ken Marchionno and students of the Project: TC Hill, Sandy Frank, Joshua Hale, Ica Ducheneaux, and Joseph Looking Horse.

The videos were taken by Shad Agard, Jesse James White, Jamie Turning Holy, Marvin Noisy Hawk, Lachelle Turning Heart, and Kayson Thompson.

The quotes were taken from interviews conducted by Ken Marchionno and Kim Abeles in 2008 and 2007, respectively.

For more information on either the ride or the project, please select the links or news page.

  Map of the Route