31 January 2011

Blackfeet Pow Wow - American Indian Dancers

Well howdeee! We were cruising along in the forties and fifties and then Saturday night shabam! The temperature dropped down to ten and six inches of the heavenly white stuff dropped on our heads. This morning I’m registering zero on the thermometer.

It was so warm earlier in the week I loaded up the four-wheeler and went out to get a head start on cutting up the blow down. Glad I did cuz that particular activity will once again go on the back burner.

Rummaging around in my photo files I came across photographs I took at the 2010 Blackfeet Pow Wow. Somehow I have never gotten around to up loading the photos I took of the dancers. I’m amazed at the number of beautiful images I have that have never seen the light of day, so much to do so little time.

The annual Blackfeet Pow Wow is held in Browning every July. Like most reservation towns, Browning is a desolate place but for a few days in July it becomes a happy colorful place. Tribal members gather to celebrate their heritage and it is a wonderful thing to see.

I took Clementine over (my RV). There isn’t much in the way of accommodations in Browning so I just parked on the grass near the celebration pavilion. There was no charge. The feeling was; come one, come all and enjoy yourself.

If there is such a thing as past lives, and I’m not sure if there is or isn’t, I feel I must surely have been a Native American in one of mine. Every time I’m on the reservation I have a lump in my throat, tears are never far away and for no perceptible reason. The only way that I can explain the feeling is one of grieving. Watching these proud and beautiful dancers was a real emotional ride for me.

BTW, you can click on any of the images to get a much larger version.

There were two elder dancers that really caught my attention, one woman and one man. It was impossible to tell just how old they were but they certainly had been around awhile. Their costumes were impeccable and they moved to the drums with such pride, elegance and grace.

I got a kick out of the minor modern trappings like dark glasses. The faces of these people seemed like maps to the past. I can only imagine what it must be like to walk in their moccasins.

This photo I rather like for the way the sun seemed to shine only on the one, making her look like a chosen princess.

While I think these images are nice to see it was impossible to get shots that did not include astro-turf and grandstands. And, because these dances were competitions the dancers costumes had numbers that were hard to avoid. If wishes were horses I would hire a Blackfoot model, in full dress, to photograph in a more natural environment maybe even astride a horse. If I ever get that wish I’ll let you know.

This last image is of the scrap metal sculptures that grace three of the entrances to the reservation. This particular set is at the south entrance. I just think they are beautiful. More proof of my contention that there is beauty everywhere around us if we just take time to see it. The sculptures are made from rusted auto parts, bits of barbed wire and other scrap. The artist is Jay Laber, a Blackfoot.

Until next week,

©Kinsey Barnard


Anonymous said...

Love your photos.
Right now I live vicariously thru you and your photos. There is a part of me that would love to live the adventursome and yet somewhat isolated life with nature that you live. My son is 14 and I often think when he gets in college I will start living a life more like yours, although I'm not sure I am brave enough to live off by my self like you do. I'm sure koty is a great friend. Thanks for sharing both photos and journal. NixPix from SI

Kinsey Barnard said...


Thank you for your kind words. Living alone in the woods is certainly an acquired taste and would not be suitable for most people. I'm just kind of a strange duck. :)

Dave said...

Tuesday February 1 I drove up to Lakeside on HighwAY 93 to see an old friend. I passed a woman setting up a camera with telephoto on a big tripod, aiming toward the missions. I did not see Koty Bear so I assume that was not you. You should have gone down to Ronan. The Missions were the most glorious form in their icy cloak. I've never seen them more beautiful.

Kinsey Barnard said...


You know how I feel about the missions!