Podcast

At Standing Rock, Two Artists Help Women Confront the Trauma of Sexual Violence

Native American women have the highest rates of sexual violence in the United States and two Native American artists are tackling the issue at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in North Dakota.

Artists Rebecca Nagle and Graci Horne by the tent they are conducting their healing events.
Artists Rebecca Nagle and Graci Horne by the tent where they are conducting their healing events (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

This fall, two Native American artists, Rebecca Nagle and Graci Horne, traveled to Standing Rock, North Dakota, to create a healing tent and to work on their “Monument Quilt,” which addresses sexual violence. The latter is a project fashioned after the well-known AIDS Memorial Quilt.

They are among the thousands of people who have converged on the Standing Rock Reservation in an attempt to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, which activists say could pollute the Missouri River and destroy a local way of life. Artists have a substantial presence at the camp, where water protectors and their allies are praying and engaging in nonviolent resistance. Government officials say they will begin ticketing and arresting the protesters starting December 5, but today roughly 2,000 veterans arrived at Standing Rock to support the people in the camp.

A view of the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock, North Dakota
A view of the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock, North Dakota

As part of their project, Nagle and Horne have organized women-only and Native women–only healing circles for survivors. They talked to me about the prevalence of sexual violence against and stalking of Native American women, particularly in North Dakota, where many so-called “man camps” house temporary oil workers.

This is the second in our three-part series on the situation at Standing Rock. You can listen to our first installment here. This is the raw recording of a conversation that took place with the two artists at the camp on November 25. We wanted to publish the unedited version to offer you a window into the historic nature of the Standing Rock standoff — to spotlight the Native American artists who have become part of the camps and allow them to share their thoughts in full.

Tomorrow, we will publish the third and final installment in our Standing Rock podcast series.

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