Standing Rock - Day 2 - The Front Line

I didn't hear from Eileen until early afternoon on Friday, November 5. 

"Erin, I was just on the Front Line. Oh my God. It's unbelievable. It really is a war zone. I can't believe this is the United States."


My adrenalin shot through the roof of my head.

"WTF! I thought you weren't going to the front line! You need to be okay. Remember why you're there, to take pictures. You're a photographer, not a warrior. You're there to support..."

She cut me off.

"I had to. How else can I take picture's of what is REALLY GOING ON?"

She had to hang up quickly. Something was going on. An action? Getting arrested? I had no idea.

I called her back repeatedly. And texted. No reply. For hours. 

Finally she called me back. I exhaled a sigh of relief.

"I met one of the leaders. See the video from the Front Line. He's a marine. I'm seeing him again tomorrow. He gets why I'm here. Most people do." (I'll post video ASAP.)

I get why she's there.

Yet, it's difficult being the "support person" while someone that you love is in harm's way. It's taking me time to adjust to her new life as a "photographer-activist".

Even so, I was rocked when I looked at the new series of photographs and videos she shot out at the front line. I was brought to tears.


I was overwhelmed. How is this the United States? What century is this? 

And, I'm increasingly concerned about Eileen's well-being.

She called me late at night to assure me that she's still okay. I guess "okay" is a relative term. You be the judge.


Eileen Counihan
Eileen Counihan