Bear & Cleo Otero

MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION: In the 20-below North Dakota winter, three-year-old Bear ripped his headgear off to be photographed. When his mother Cleo Otero came out of the teepee for wood, she briskly re-throned the boys head.

Earlier in the year, Cleo came out to Standing Rock with several women from Albuquerque, New Mexico to fight for clean water. She became the last woman standing from her group. Missing her boy and wanting him to grow up to be a spiritual warrior, she went back to retrieve Bear.

For two month, the mother and son blended into the routine of the Rosebud Camp, a satellite site across the river from the main camp. When I saw them walking down the path to fetch wood. In the cold, I asked if I could photograph them and was surprised by the warmth of her affirmation. They became my last before my departure.

What I captured affirmed the reasons why I came to Standing Rock and why the mother refused to leave her stand at Standing Rock for the future of her son..


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