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.
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
The ‘colour’ is phenomenal Jim. I would like to know more about the story behind the colour, and the ceremony you recently witnessed.
Willa, Thank you for the comment; I will do some follow-on Blogs about the UTTC Pow Wow. Not just History or about the origins of the dance, but based on what we all can learn from the gathering of nations in common praise of humankind, beliefs, languages, and customs. Humanity needs to come together in a global to love and respect one another and our differences. Also, the Pow Wow Grand Entry is led by veterans and the stars and stripes and other flags of meaning.
More to come
The bead work is amazing. Some of those outfits would be heavy!!
If people do not take time to appreciate the colors God has placed around us they are missing something special. I stop often to appreciate scenes of color and thank God for the beauty he has made. I think your photos do a spectacular job in representing this beauty.
I am so happy some like-minded, color-loving, God-Loving people are out there. How are the happy hens doing? Happy, I would imagine. Are the Goats milking? BTW the pickled eggs are great!
More to come
Hello sir, stumbled upon your site after watching “Pow Wow Highway” and looking for more information about the film. I browsed some of the other photos, they’re all good. It’s nice that you appreciated the Native American colors and wanted to capture them. I am a non-Native as well but as a young teenager, I also wanted to know more about our indigenous brothers and sisters.
Keep it up with the guitar, most of us will never be the next Hendrix or Glenn Campbell, but it is the joy of making sounds that is fun!
Thanks for the encouragement, I will persevere to play a bit better each day I struggle. We often provide our own barriers to growth and the reasons why we should give up. My site is an example, I write daily but had not shared the efforts for fear of denial and criticism. I have loved photography but the images of creation I captured remain on a drive unshared. I believe it is best to shed the chains of fear and put it out in hopes the words and pictures will influence someone in a positive way. I am now working on a series of micro-documentaries of stories that need telling. Videography and film making is my next struggle, and I will share those stories God has introduced me to the world for consumption. Check back on occasion to see how this old man’s struggle proceeds.