Using the power of photojournalism to expose social, economic and ecological injustice

Thirteen historical Photo(s) of the Month below

We’re Back

Please join Indigenous Environmental Network, Global Justice Ecology Project and Shawnee Forest Defense! in October 2019 for The Resurgence: 2019 Forest & Climate Movement Convergence where we will join together diverse movements to build strategies with action to fundamentally transform the system that is destroying life on Earth. More at the end of this photo essay.

And not everyone is glad to see us

Driver of logging truck tries to persuade me not to take the photo. He failed.

Photos by Orin Langelle/GJEP

Many of these photos will be in Cade Bursell’s upcoming film documentary on the Shawnee Forest.

These photographs were taken primarily around the Fairview Timber Sale occupation in the Shawnee National Forest in the summer of 1990.

The timber sale area was occupied for 79 days – at that time, the longest forest occupation in modern U.S. history. The area slated to be cut was rich in biodiversity, a haven for songbirds and loved by the many locals who went there to watch the birds, camp or enjoy nature. The major daily newspaper in Springfield, IL, the state’s capital, called the occupation “a popular uprising.”

The occupation drew all ages.

The U.S. Forest Service visits the occupation.

The occupiers chase the U.S. Forest Service away.

Chevrolet Biscayne, nicknamed  “The Biscuit” (above) was used as a blockade in the road leading into Fairview.

Woman with monkey wrench atop “The Biscuit.” This was a replica of a photo taken during the then-ongoing “Oka Crisis.” 

The U.S. Forest Service warns forest defender who locked his neck to a skidder. The warning did not work.

U.S. Forest Service uses a blowtorch to cut the kryptonite lock attaching a Shawnee defender (under the silver shield) to a piece of logging equipment.

The activist, who turned thirty years old that day and was wanted by the Forest Service for entering a closure area illegally, turned himself in by locking his neck to the logging skidder. The Forest Service responded by putting an aluminum shield around his head and cutting off the lock with an acetylene torch while he sang, “God Bless America.” he was then arrested and taken into custody.

The arrests continued

And continued

And continued



Earth First!ers (and Ronald Reagan) blockade the logging road of the Fairview Timber Sale area in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois by burying themselves up to their necks in the road.


March for the Shawnee Forest overt the Big Muddy River.

The Resurgence: 2019 North American Forest & Climate Movement Convergence

From the Call to Action:

“This is not another conference. This is a call to action to radically transform the economic and political systems that drive climate change, forest destruction & the commodification of life.”

Shawnee National Forest, Southern Illinois (U.S.)

October 11 through October 14, 2019 – culminating on Indigenous Peoples’ Day




One Response to “Return to the Shawnee Forest”

  1. Aaron Cantor

    Thank you Orin.

    I hope that both elders and youth today are inspired by your ongoing efforts as I am.

    The spirit of those incredible months lives on in your photography.

    Thanks again,


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