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.

Regalia – Buffalo Headdress

Buffalo headdress NCIPA powwow 2016

Regalia is the term most used to describe the clothing and accessories worn by Indians during their ceremonies, competitive dances, and other events. It can be made of exclusively natural materials such as were used by their forefathers including feathers taken from birds caught by the individuals, leather from animals they killed themselves, beads obtained from traders or others, or any kind of item gathered and used by the individuals. This is often referred to as traditional regalia.

Other regalia may be made from newer less traditionally sourced materials such as modern manufactured beads and buttons or any type of adornment that can add to the look of updated regalia worn by individuals.

There is no right or wrong type of regalia worn and used today. In the past, new items such as small mirrors or new pieces of cloth obtained through barter or trade with other tribes or individuals before the trading of newer items began, were soon incorporated into regalia and displayed proudly. Todays use of new fabrics for streamers and accents worn in the regalia of Fancy Dancers today is not only considered acceptable but necessary for the look of the outfits worn by these dancers today.

Above is a beautiful example of a Buffalo headdress seen from the back so you can appreciate the adornments and beadwork of a spectacular example of craftsmanship and traditional styling. This was seen at the 2016 NCIPA powwow in Ft Collins, Colorado.

This image is a photograph processed in various types of software to bring out the beauty of the various items used in its creation. We’ll be bringing you further examples of incredible regalia in future posts.

 

2016 NCIPA Northern Colorado Intertribal Powwow Association

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!

2016 NCIPA Northern Colorado Intertribal Powwow

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On April 16th and 17th this year the 24th annual Northern Colorado Intertribal Powwow was held in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The weather was cold and rainy but inside the Northside Aztlan Community Center it was as warm as the smiles of the various attendees. Participants from all over were here to dance, drum, sing and celebrate their culture.

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As always the color guard opened the ceremonies with all the flags displayed. It is an honor to be chosen to be a member of the color guard and the veterans who participate have all served their country in different branches of the armed services.

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There are dances by the men.

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Fancy dancers with their fantastic regalia perform in a hypnotizing swirl of color and motion.

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Women dancers have their own dances and their regalia and performance is spectacular.

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There is every type of regalia from the most highly decorated to very simple traditional and it is all on display.

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The powwow couldn’t be held without the drummers who play and sing the traditional songs for the different dances.

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Fancy dancers are show stoppers with their incredible regalia and whirling, leaping, contestants. .

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There are times when the members take a celebratory turn around the circle and everyone joins in.

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Always there is color. The various accessories combine colors in ways that are fascinating.

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And always there are gifts. Here apples have  been placed where the youngest of the participants can race out to gather them. Lots of fun for them and lots of fun for those who watch from the sidelines.

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The youngest are also watching. Much can be learned by simply observing. This is how knowledge is passed down from generation to generation. By seeing, hearing, participating, talking to their elders, listening to their stories and always with receiving much love and attention.

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There are also big observers. But they learn too.

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The bead and quill work on the various pieces is incredible. This is all hand done and the numbers of hours and effort that goes into them is beyond counting.

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Sharing the experience makes lasting memories for both young and old.

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Youngsters waiting for their time to dance. These are great kids and they truly seem to be enjoying their part in all the proceedings. There is a lot of pride here.

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More color and detail shows how some of the regalia is constructed.

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Many of the participants look as if they stepped out of an Edward Curtis photograph or perhaps a George Catlin painting.

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Styles of dress varied. There were as many different looks as there was participants.

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Dancing gives life to the clothing, the accessories carried, and to the participants themselves.

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The surroundings of the dance began to fade away as you listened to the drums and watched the dances performed. The fact that you were in a gymnasium was lost as you watched dances that could have been performed a hundred years ago.

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There was fun and excitement all around but underneath the activity it was always a serious spiritual event. This was not play, this was an expression of the participants culture and beliefs and was always a time of reflection.

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This young woman seemed to epitomize the effect these gatherings have on the people who attend them. Pride, attentiveness, beauty, strength of character, awareness of their culture, all folded into this gathering. Feeling the tradition that extends as far back into time as you can see, to right now in the chaos of the present, is reflected in her gaze.

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Nearly at the close of the event there was a couples dance. From the married couples down to the teenagers who have been flirting on the sidelines throughout the powwow, they parade around the ever-present circle that determines all they do in life. It shows how this is one large family. A family the reaffirms its bond to the tribe and their culture and to the world at large. That’s what a powwow is about.

In the future I will periodically post more images from this powwow so stay tuned for more. If you type, Crow, Blackfeet, Indian or the name of a gathering you will be able to visit pages from other powwows that have been posted here. There are literally hundreds of images from the many powwows, gatherings and Indian rodeos I have attended. Feel free to browse to your heart’s content. And if you feel so inclined forward this post to interested friends. Thanks

Crow Fair Revisited Part 2

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. This is part 2. 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 sun is warming the lodges.

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Returning from the river after watering the herd

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Opening ceremonies

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Families joining in the circles.

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Many happy faces

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Recognizing Royalty

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Recognizing Royalty ,especially  the youngest ones.

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Men’s dancers

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Dancing into the sunset

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Men’s regalia

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Dancing around the circle

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Women presenting the colors at the start of the parade

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Incredible regalia display

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Different styles of dress were part of the parade

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Crow woman with beautiful bead work

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Crow mother and son riding in the parade

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Young man in full headdress

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Teen boy in full headdress.

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Crow woman with bow and quiver

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Young girl with elk tooth dress

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Always watchful, there is so much to learn

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Scene from the past

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Closing ceremonies

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Kids saying goodbye,

Watch for further posts from both the Crow Fair and the NAID Blackfeet gathering in the weeks to come.

Crow Fair 2015 Parade

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!

The main parade at the Crow Fair is one event everybody looks forward to. It ‘s a chance to see the Fair participants in full regalia riding their horses or on a float presenting their best efforts for the fair judges and the parade viewers as well. It’s a fun event for everybody. The participants get to wave to fiends and family in the crowd. The viewers get to see an amazing sight and everybody’s happy. This has got to be a favorite time for everyone.

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As in every event they hold the colors are presented.

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Usually the parade has categories but occasionally things get changed u a little and you get a different look. Today there were a lot of individuals parading in and out of category groups.

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There’s always Royalty in a parade and there is a lot of royalty at the Crow Fair.

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An experienced rider in the men’s War Bonnet category.

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Some times the parade is so good you just have to smile

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Lodge poles, a good horse, a hat to keep the sun off your face and it’s a great parade

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An elder responding to friend in the crowd. Everyone is good-natured and has fun calling back and forth.

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A segment of the Reservation Hat category passes in review.

 

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The Crow are very partial to their horses and any cane to show off good stock is taken advantage of.

 

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Young women get a chance to show off their finery.

 

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A young warrior rides a painted horse. The symbols and colors are all important.

 

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A young woman wearing an Elk Tooth dress shades her eyes with her fan. It was 107° the day this parade was held.

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And the sun was bright and hot but that didn’t keep the parade from going on.

 

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All ages participate

 

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Eve down to the youngest. If they can hang on they can be in the parade

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That counts for the horses too.

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These young braves are on their way to being fierce warriors, they just need a little more time.

 

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Letting out a huge cry and catching up is all part of the parade

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The real stars of the parade are the elders, both men and women. Within them lies the knowledge and experience that needs to be passed down to the younger members of the tribe. They are the reservoirs of heritage and pride and it shows on each and every face.

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As the parade winds down ad passes by there is a final wave and it’s over for the day. A parade like this is a monumental task to put on. In the next post we’ll visit the staging area where all the magic happens. Stay tuned.

Crow Fair 2015 Men’s 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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Dancing is a central part of the Crow Fair and the men’s competition is very important to them. It is a chance to show off their regalia and their best footwork and perhaps most importantly demonstrate their history and culture. Dancing is extremely serious business and not taken lightly. It is a chance to show off who they are and what their beliefs mean to them.

There are many different dance categories and they are broken down by age groups. This post is not about explaining what each category is but it is more a presentation of the colors, textures, style, symbols and meanings important to each dancer and the tribe in general. Ceremony and the spiritual connection with their past can be seen in every step they take. This is not a show, this is their life.

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Elder dancers display more traditional styles.

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Younger dancers display more exotic styles

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Some are very traditional

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The younger boys have each chosen the style they want to perform

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A group of fancy dancers display the incredible variety of colors for their dance category

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Postures are an important part of each dance style

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So is intensity

 

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Decorations and symbols adorn each dancers regalia and the items they carry.

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Focus, making sure each step is performed in the proper manner requires maximum concentration.

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Feathers and perfect beadwork complete the look required

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The emotion of each presentation can be seen in every movement.

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Two different styles performing the same dance

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Every accessory is perfect from head to toe

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Lost in the dance one can see the powerful historical connection for the dancers

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And the incredible feelings displayed as the dance continues

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Many clothing styles are a study in contrast

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While there is simply wild abandonment in the fancy dancers regalia

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This style of dancing requires maximum effort on the part of the dancers

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And it shows as the dance ends.

The dancing goes on nearly continuously throughout the fair and the stamina of the participants is remarkable. Many times the dances last deep into the night and the sounds of the drums and the singers can be heard throughout the camp. It is a  constant whirlwind of activity and excitement. The next post will bring you the women’s dancing. Stay tuned.

Crow Fair 2015

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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Crow Fair is here again. This is the 97th year that it has taken place on the banks of the Little Big Horn river. It is billed as the Teepee capital of the world and it lived up to its name again as there were over 1200 lodges set up. That would be one thousand two hundred teepees. That is a lot of teepees. The camp is located between Custer’s Last Stand, or the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument as it’s officially known, and extends along the river to the edge of the town of Crow Agency in Montana. That’s a distance of a little under three miles and maybe ¾ of a mile deep.

The official starting date for all the ceremonies and festivities was August 12th  and lasted until August 17th, but as you can imagine an endeavor this large didn’t happen overnight. For a couple of weeks in some cases, the participants began moving in and setting up their lodges, creating a camp that hasn’t been seen on this scale since probably 1876. All of the teepees have been set up according to family groups and were usually grouped in a circle if possible with an arbor made of poles set in the ground to form a rectangle in the middle. This framework was then covered with fresh-cut branches with their leaves still green to cover the framework and provide shade. As you walked through the camp you could see family groups sitting at the tables having a meal or simply talking to while away the hours between activities.

They also brought their horses and they were kept in pens set up near the lodges where they could be fed and cared for. In the morning and evening the kids were given the task of seeing that the horses were watered. This meant riding them bareback, usually while leading another, down to drink out of the Little Bighorn river. The only difference between now and a hundred years ago were the clothes the kids wore. Lots of jeans and t-shirts and tennis shoes. Lots of smartphones too. It was not unusual to see a youngster riding a horse down to the river texting on the way. Many of the horses seemed to find relief in the cool water and would venture out midway into the river to stand for as long as they were allowed to. Some of the kids were not averse to jumping in the water either as there were several days when the temperature was over 100°.

Over the next few days we’ll be bringing you highlights from the Crow Fair and Rodeo. There was singing and drumming and non-stop dancing. People dressed in regalia that many made themselves. There was ceremony and traditions paid homage to, and most of all a gathering of the Crow people to celebrate their lives and history. Stay tuned.