It has not only been a pleasure to work alongside David as a co-teacher, but also to observe his work with the students. He empowers students on the Reservation in a unique way and gives them ownership of their communities through photography and reflection. During an intensive summer course, we combined photography with writing to prompt students to think critically of their surroundings and themselves. His process allows students to engage with hands-on activities that give them true knowledge of what they're doing. David displays tremendous patience with the individuals that he works with and ensures understanding before moving on to the next step of the learning process. The photographic process instills a sense of individual pride in the products students create.
- Alexander Herlich, Salish Kootenai College Upward Bound, Pablo, Montana

Voices and Visions of the Flathead Reservation

The project Voices & Vision of the Flathead Reservation involved Native American and non-Native young people who live in the communities along the western front of the Rockies in the Mission Mountains. The 50 young people from St. Ignatius and Arlee, Montana were asked to portray their home and community and to focus on aspects of culture and life on the reservation using the mediums of photography and writing to encourage personal and multicultural expression. The ultimate goal of the project was to empower the young people of these communities with the tools and techniques of photography and writing in order to allow them to explore their cultural differences and similarities and to give them a means to describe to each other and to their communities who they are and how they feel. They shared aspects of self, family, celebration, community and the land.

The project provided a framework for the use of photography and writing as an expressive tool that enabled the young people of this area to talk about issues surrounding community and culture. The process of documentation is an important tool used in education, meditation, thought and expression. Voices, Visions & the Rez'' sought to create a highly evolved interaction that combined the story and the picture.

Young people in the project worked with writer Jennifer Finley and photographer David J. Spear. In St. Ignatius with Ms. Christy Konzen''s summer school program. With Mr. Pat Pierre, Mr. Steven Small Salmon, Ms. Arlene Adams and their staff at the NK''wusm Salish Language Revitalization Institute in Arlee and at the Agnes Vandenberg Camp in the hills northwest of Arlee. And with Philippa Crawford and Jenny Meyers and the Arlee after school art program. This work was shown at Hangin Art Gallery in Arlee, Montana and at the Red Poppy Art Center in Ronan, Montana.