Sees Past The Clouds

                  crow camp 2015

There, way off in the distance, past the lodges, past the meadows, past the trees, past even the clouds, there is something important happening. Some arresting movement, something that makes one pause, something that bears close scrutiny and causes both woman and horse to stop and watch intently. Is it real, or is it perhaps a vision. Maybe she’ll tell us when she talks her dreams. Until then we can only see her and wonder what it is that she sees, there out past the clouds.

Woman On Horseback Crow Fair

                                  click image to enlarge

This is a portrait is of a woman on horseback in the Sunday morning parade held during Crow fair. The original photo was taken during the 2014 fair. It has been enhanced to appear as if it is a painting in the style of the old masters and was done to bring out the beauty and strength of the subject and to feature her regalia in the best possible light. Be sure to click on the image to see it full size on your monitor.

One of the highlights of the Crow Fair is the parade that is presented Sunday morning. To put it mildly it is spectacular and that is an understatement. Nearly everyone who has brought a horse to the fair enters the parade and is assigned to a category they wish to participate in. Categories included were “Women’s Old Time Saddle”, “Men’s War Shirt”, “Women’s Nez Perce”, Women’s Buckskin”, “Women’s Elk Tooth”, “Teen Boy’s Reservation Hat”, “Men’s War bonnet”, and many more. Each category shows off different aspects of traditional dress. The woman in the image above was entered in the “Women’s Buckskin” category.

Crow Fair, called the “Tipi Capital of the World,” is an annual event held the third weekend in August on the Crow Reservation at Crow Agency in Montana. It is one of the largest Native American events in North America and is run by a committee of the Crow tribe. There can be over a thousand teepees set up during the fair, along with parades, powwows, rodeos and other events too numerous to mention. To see more posts about Crow Fair simply type in CROW into the search box at the top of the page and hit enter. There are dozens of posts about Crow Fair with many pictures to show all aspects of the fair. Also be sure to visit our sister site http://www.OpenChutes.com to see more posts of Western Events. OpenChutes is a blog exclusively dedicated to Powwows, Rodeos, Cowboys, Indians, Indian Relay Races, Mountain Men, Rendezvous and any other western event that may occur in the Rocky Mountain West. Enjoy your visit.

So, Where You Been Then

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“So, Where you been then.” That is just one of the questions we’ve been asked regarding our dearth of posting for the last month. In fact, pictured above, is Ms. Euclidia Hanson asking it again. “Where you been” she asked ” you don’t write, you don’t call, where you been? I didn’t pay good money to be treated like this.” and so on. (Note: In checking our records we found that Euclidia didn’t pay any money to us at all, and in fact owes us for service since the first of the year and all of last year. We’ll be contacting Ms. Hanson about that just as soon as the rut is over)

But regardless, we have a good answer. This summer has been the summer we have been hitting the powwow trail with a new event occurring almost every weekend. Starting back in April when we attended the Gathering of Nations, the largest inter-tribal powwow in the country, through the summer, and ending with the Crow Fair just last week.

We are working on an exciting new project that we’ll be announcing in the near future that requires lots of photography of the people and events in the powwows that occur throughout the summer. This has produced literally thousands of photographs that have to be processed and evaluated for inclusion in this exciting new project. More on that as we get closer to our release date.

When we are out in the field we run into several problems with posting to the blog. Most notably a lack of decent wi-fi in the areas where the powwows are held. Since that unfortunate incident where our satellite truck went over both the Upper and Lower Yellowstone falls and bent the roof dish all to hell and back and the generator had a total meltdown due to embarrassment or something, leaving us with nothing but an iPhone with a cracked screen, we have not been able to reliably send our posts back to *The Institute for reissuing to the world at large.

Plus now the Park Service is all cheesed off about satellite truck pieces scattered up and down in the Yellowstone river and has made us send people up there in hip waders collecting those parts for reassembly, kind of like they do with plane crashes, to determine how much they want to fine us. I’m not even getting into dealing with the satellite truck rental people, especially after the intern we sent to pick it up didn’t sign the insurance papers for it. He said he saved us $51.00 a day by not taking it. The satellite truck with all the equipment in it was only worth about $750,000.00 so he’s lucky that we can’t get into his hospital room. We’d rearrange his traction equipment for him.

Aside from that it was a great trip. We got incredible images of the different events, even with The Director getting run over by a stampeding horse and knocked tail over tea kettle in the Indian Relay Races at Ft. Hall, Id at the Western Shoshone/ Bannock rodeo. More about that in a separate post coming soon to a monitor near you.

So briefly that was why there were very few posts last month. Sorry. But! and it’s a big one. Watch for postings covering the various powwows and western events we attended this summer. They’re going to be great.

*Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind.

Crow Elder – Time Keeper

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

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When photographing the Crow Fair last year I noticed how many of the elders of the tribe so easily fit into the duality of the moment. On one hand they were a large part of the present yet fit so naturally into the past. It was as if they were caught between time. You could easily imagine them shifting between now and then effortlessly. Their clothes draped on them so naturally, they held the trappings that they carried as if they were never out of their hands, and their faces showed the wealth of years of experience and memories. It would not be difficult to imagine them revisiting their heritage by slipping back and forth between time. Perhaps they do in their memories.

Elders in the tribes are held with the utmost respect and are included in the forefront of all the ceremonies and activities. In practically every major event there is a color guard that opens the activities and it is a mixture of young and old with the older participants in the front of the procession. They are a proud people and it shows in everything they do. This Crow gentleman was one of the color guard participants and his patience and serene demeanor was an example for all.

It was my pleasure and honor to be able to photograph the members of the Crow tribe and I will be periodically featuring them through out the year.

Crow Fair Revisited

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

This weekend we are revisiting the 2014 Crow Fair. These are images that have not been posted before. As we have done in the past we are posting them with the minimum of conversation about them so that you can enjoy the memories they bring back.

 

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Early morning in the camp.

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Entering the circle

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Introducing the young to the ways

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Jingle dancer in perfect form

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Adjustments made

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A princess being recognized

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Another princess proudly receiving her welcome

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A soon to be princess watching closely

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Elders entering the circle

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Regalia on display

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A study in concentration

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Close watch

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Parade arriving

 

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Showing her the ropes

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Royalty on a grey horse

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Confident and proud

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Displaying the fan

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Million dollar smile

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Complete focus

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Displaying his wealth

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Controlling the high spirits

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Gorgeous Elk tooth shirts

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After the parade

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Closing ceremonies

Tomorrow will be another set of images from the 2014 Crow Fair. Stop by.

Crow Woman Dancing

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

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One of the interesting things about watching the participants of the Crow Fair ceremonies and dancing is seeing how many of the competitors have melded the traditional and the modern  to create to create a unique style all of their own. This blending of the old and new complements each other and shows the evolution of enhancing the old with the new until it becomes a part of the culture.

The traditional style is so strong and shows through as such, leaving no doubt as to what is the dominant style. The accessories added, effortlessly become one with the look. The supreme confidence of the wearer makes this effect even stronger.

The crow Fair creates a never-ending view of past and present. To be able to see the present celebrate the past yet adapt to the future as well is a fascinating experience. This is not a static culture. It is dynamic yet never loses touch with its past. One wants to know what the future will bring.

Crow Elders Watching

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

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During the dance competition at the Crow Fair many types of dances were performed. There were categories for all ages. Men and women’s dances, young people, elders. There were dances performed by visiting tribes, everywhere you looked there were people dancing.

The categories included different types of dances such as Northern Traditional, Southern traditional, Chicken dance, Grass dance, and Fancy dances for the men. Northern and Southern Traditional, Jingle and Fancy Shawl dances for the women, There was something for everyone.

When the dances were being performed it was serious business, it wasn’t just spectacle although there was plenty of that, this was their history and heritage being performed, a way in which their culture was being passed on from the elders to the younger people down through the ages. Who they were as a people was imbedded in the dance and its traditions and this was their heart and soul. This is what made them who they are.

The youngest learning by watching and performing, learned the steps, and as they did the meaning held within the dance itself was absorbed, and as they grew the culture of the Crow people became ingrained within them. They were absorbing and gathering everything they needed to know to become the future of the tribe.

Through it all the elders would watch. It was a competition but it was more than that. It was proof that the Crow traditions and heritage would move forward  and as long as dances were held and people sang and came together the tribe would always be who they were. The Crow Nation, proud and fiercely independent.