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The Pow Wow Highway
An education in COLOR

Everyone in Lame Deer knew of the shit-brown Buick—Philbert nicknamed his car “The Protector.” The steering wheel touched his big fat belly. Philbert was a 300 pound Cheyenne giant; he loved his relationship with his protector, his war pony. The story tells of the trip Philbert takes with an uptight friend, Buddy, together; they leave a trail of dust from Montana’s Lame Deer Reservation halfway down Interstate 25 as they take off to bail Buddy’s sister out of jail. The PowWow highway is a colorful novel about life and commitment— The story became a movie in 1989.

Pow Wow Regailia

Living Dancing Art

I am a Scandinavian as white as it comes; I thought Pow Wow was derogatory slang. The only connection I had to the indigenous people was a short grade school friendship with Donny Yellow-Bird; I believe Donny was an Arikara from the Three Affiliated Tribes in New Town, North Dakota. Donny was better at everything; he could run faster, jump higher, lift more—it did not matter—he was better in Art, Science, even Math. Donny even exceeded at being a good friend. He made me hungry to know more about the original people of North Dakota.

This Blog is not a story about the Chippewa, Arikara, Hidatsa, Sioux, or Mandan. It’s not a story of the Pow Wow—it is a story of color, bright, beautiful color. What’s the connection between color and this intro about the Pow Wow Highway? We were blessed to attend the United Tribes Technical College Pow Wow in Bismarck this past weekend. The Pow Wow is a social gathering celebrating heritage, art, dance, and music. As a photographer, it is a celebration in COLOR.

I have been told I get carried away in color and that the colors are other-worldly, oversaturated, and beyond bold. Critics say the colors of my photography are cliche and lack emotion—to those critics, I say, “Open your eyes, be bold.” I will discuss how I process these images to make a colorful statement for another time. The following pictures tell the story of color and movement and are a spiritual statement; you be the judge. Pay attention to the details of the art within the dress of the regalia—The beadwork is done by hand threading tiny beads onto a thin thread, each with a loving touch. I love everything about the Pow Wow, but it is the colors that draw me in.

A great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers, and full plumage of varied colors came to Lebanon. ~ Ezekiel 17:3

Pow Wow dancers

A blaze of color

Pow Wow

The Movement of Color

North Dakota Pow Wow

Bead Work

Beadwork 1

Pow Wow

Beadwork of the Pow Wow

Pow Wow

Tiny Pow Wow dancer

Tiny Dancer




BeadworkPow Wow

Beadwork 2