Photographer Joey Podlubny wants to inspire people to look at the world differently. His latest project, the book The Four Directions of Reconciliation, documents the Chipewyan Prairie First Nation’s relationship to the land as they become increasingly surrounded by oil sands development. The Chipewyan Prairie Dene were the last group to sign Treaty 8 in 1899. Families were taken from hundreds of kilometres around and placed on the reserve lands in and near Janvier, about 120 km south of Fort McMurray. Podlubny regularly drives from Calgary to Janvier—where today just over 900 members live on three separate reserves. “Chipewyan Prairie First Nation is like my second home,” he says. “I’ve eaten moose tongue and rabbit heart, slept in the cold bush, chopped wood, hauled water. I’ve walked the trap lines and collected rocks for the sweat lodges. I’ve been in the courtrooms and on the protest lines, in the council chambers and in the lodges. I’ve travelled over 300,000 km to discover what reconciliation might look like.” The photos here, he says, “are a collaboration with everyone I’ve met.”
Joey Podlubny is a documentary photographer based in Calgary. He grew up in small-town Alberta, worked at newspapers and magazine, and now, as a freelancer, documents people and places often misunderstood. His new book is The Four Directions of Reconciliation.