I’m on assignment with writer Michael Winiarski for Dagens Nyheter (Sweden’s largest daily morning paper) in the US – a country I really love working in. Our trip consists of three stops – the first one was pre super tuesday coverage in Ohio, from where we escaped yesterday (too early according to our editors who we didn’t tell we were leaving).

We were in a hurry to leave politics for the wild plains of South Dakota – where we now are at the Pine Ridge reservation, home of the Lakota (Sioux) indian tribe. The reservation is one of the poorest places in the US – with unemployment rates in the 80% range and huge problems with alcoholism among the natives – a problem that brings an array of other misery along with it – including lethal drunk driving accidents, violence, suicides and fetal alcohol syndrome (1 out of 4 infants are being born with it). The reason for our visit here is a lawsuit filed by the tribe against beer manufacturing companies for allowing the sale of alcohol just outside the reservation. Much can be said about the reasoning behind this lawsuit, and a lot of it is summed up in the New York Times piece – coincidentally published today.  (Be sure to read the comments as well – especially the NYT picks).

Another weird coincidence is the fact that yesterday, while we were driving here we passed two huge trucks carrying pipes heading north – and it turns out that these trucks were stopped in a roadblock hours earlier by the same Lakota indians we came to meet. The pipes are for a pipeline construction meant to transport tar sand from Canada to Texas, a project opposed by the Lakota tribe whose reservation it is planned to run through. Five tribe members were arrested for stopping the trucks that were travelling through their reservation without permits. Lots of news in one place in other words. And not exactly in a place that is the center of attention.

Today we met a family that lives in a trailer home just a few steps from the locaton of the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890. Ten people of three generations live in this one trailer, and the kids – full of life and with way too much energy were a blast to hang out with and photograph – especially when they started jumping on the roof of their dad’s car. Notice the torn flag in the background. It is turned upside down – to emphasize the fact that the Lakota indians feel mistreated by America.

Lakota indian kids jumping on their dad's car on the place of the Wounded Knee Massacre ©Chris Maluszynski /MOMENT for Dagens Nyheter

 By Chris Maluszynski