Friday, January 17, 2014

Ya Native Smudging

... (Y) ...

http://www.ya-native.com/nativeamerica/Smudging.html


http://www.ya-native.com/nativeamerica/Smudging.html

smudging prayer

Smudging Prayer

Smudge stick

smudging



Noble Savages and Noble Nations --- Duane Champagne 1/15/14


Noble Savages and Noble Nations

1/15/14

Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/15/noble-savages-and-noble-nations-153110


Wikimedia Commons
This cropped version of Benjamin West’s “The Death of General Wolfe” shows the section with the Native American. West’s portrayal of the Native American has been cited as an example of the “noble savage.”



Noble Savages and Noble Nations

1/15/14

Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/15/noble-savages-and-noble-nations-153110
In American Indian history there are often characterizations of Native peoples as “noble savages.” The expression is a European term based on European understandings and culture. The expression savage often means “the other,” someone of a different culture and moral code. Usually the term savage is applied in a derogatory manner, meaning someone without culture, although the meaning of savage more literally is a people of a different culture.
Certainly American Indian cultures were extremely foreign to Europeans. Furthermore, indigenous cultures throughout North America and around the world significantly differ between one another. In indigenous cultures, as in most cultures, there is a tendency to see one’s own tradition as central, based on specific creation teachings. Tribal people often see themselves as the people of the first creation, while other nations or races are created and given certain places to live and certain tasks and ceremonies. Different from the European traditions, all the peoples appear to be related and part of a common future. When Europeans use the expression savage, they conceptualize peoples who are other, uncivilized, heathen non-Christian, and often in need of remaking in the image of European ways. Savages are considered inferior, benighted, lacking in education and appropriate cultural ways.
Original version of Benjamin West’s “The Death of General Wolfe.” (Wikimedia Commons)
Original version of Benjamin West’s “The Death of General Wolfe.” (Wikimedia Commons)
The expression “noble savage” then appears as a rather forced usage. How can one be noble and savage at the same time. Nobles in European culture were persons of rank and order, who often commanded political and economic resources. Nobility in Europe was generally about family, lineage, political rank, and class. Indigenous nations, however, usually do not have class and economic hierarchies comparable to those of Europe. How can the expression “noble savage” be attached to Indigenous Peoples like American Indians?
When many Europeans observed indigenous nations they often contrasted them with the class orders and centralized absolutist states of Europe. The king, aristocrats, and church formed the leading sectors of many European nations. Many European immigrants fled the political hierarchies and religious wars of Europe to find sanctuary in the Americas. What many early European observers admired about indigenous nations was their lack of rigid political hierarchies and consensual form of political process that sharply contrasted with the centralized absolutist states of Europe. Decentralized indigenous political processes, often based on kinship groups, became models for democratic alternatives that were not available in Europe before the 20th century. Rousseau, Marx, Engels, and the French Philosophes used the indigenous examples of political egalitarianism to critique the non-democratic and class-based hierarchies of European government.
“Noble savage” became an expression that focused on political freedom. In many, if not all, indigenous nations, the people had the right to express their points of view through traditional means of political discussion and decision making. The Iroquois Confederacy was a prime example where political decisions were made within families, clans, nations, before they could be discussed and agreed upon within the entire Confederacy. Indigenous people were seen as noble, not because they controlled wealth and political power, but because each person had the right to political participation within the indigenous nation.
In Europe before the 20th century, most people did not have the right to vote, and most people who voted were members of the aristocracy and were often considered nobles. So Indians were seen as noble savages because they upheld different rules of egalitarian and democratic process than Europeans. Indigenous persons had political rights to express their views and have their views expressed in their village, band, clan, family, or nation, according to their own traditions of political and cultural community.
The cultural values of consensual political processes and individual respect for persons, social groups, and nations created not only individual and group forms of freedom, but also indigenous nations that continue to the present to insist on self-government and the freedom to make their own decisions.

Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/15/noble-savages-and-noble-nations-153110

Elder's Meditation of the Day January 17


Elder's Meditation of the Day January 17
"In our story of Creation, we talk about each one of us having our own path to travel, and our own gift to give and to share. You see, what we say is that the Creator gave us all special gifts; each one of us is special. And each one of us is a special gift to each other because we've got something to share."
--John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
We are all equally special. We need to focus on what is right for ourselves. As we focus on what is right for ourselves, we will start to see our special gifts. Then we can see how to share our special gifts with others. If we focus on what's wrong with ourselves, we will not be able to see our gifts. Then we will think we have nothing to give others and we become selfish and withdrawn. The more we focus on our good, the more we see the good in others. The more we see the good in others, the more we see the gifts they have to share. What you sees is what you gets!
My Creator, today, let me use the gifts You have given me. Let me use them wisely.

Looking to Buy....

Risky Betts Comedian's photo.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Elder's Meditation of the Day January 16


Elder's Meditation of the Day January 16
"If people are going to get back into balance, one of the things they have to do is seek the truth. They have to start really speaking the truth themselves, and that's a difficult thing to do. The way it is now in the world, we don't mind lying."
--John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
Well everybody's doing it. Do unto others before they do unto you. If it wasn't for bad luck I would have no luck at all. These are excuses and rationalizations for giving up accountability. Be true to yourself. Seek the truth, the Great Spirit is the truth. The truth shall set you free. This is the truth. We cannot be free if we are dishonest nor can we live a balanced life if we are dishonest. As we grow, we need to start taking stands. All warriors take stands. The warrior's belief is constantly being aligned to truth. The warrior will always know where he/she stands.
Great Spirit, help me today to seek Your truth, not my truth.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How long are you going to let......

... the time is now ...

www.ReamusWilson.com

Feather Meanings

... (Y) ...

www.Ya-Native.com

Elder's Meditation of the Day January 15


Elder's Meditation of the Day January 15
It's all spirit and it's all connected."
--Grandfather William Commanda, ALGONQUIN
If everything is connected, we cannot disconnect. To disconnect is not a real choice. This is why we are always spiritual no matter what we do. Every alcoholic is spiritual. All our brothers and sisters are spiritual. We may not be behaving correctly, but nevertheless, we are spiritual. Our choice is to live out of harmony with spiritual ways or in harmony with spiritual ways. Everything is spiritual.
Great Spirit, give me the knowledge to be in harmony with the spirit today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Elder's Meditation of the Day January 14


Elder's Meditation of the Day January 14
"It is a native tradition to sit in a circle and talk-to share what is in your heart."
--John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
The talking circle is also a listening circle. The talking circle allows one person to talk at a time for as long as they need to talk. So much can be gained by listening. Is it a coincidence that the Creator gave us one mouth and two ears? The power of the circle allows the heart to be shared with each other. What we share with each other also heals each other. When we talk about our pain in the circle, it is distributed to the circle, and we are free of the pain. The talking circle works because when the people form a circle, the Great Mystery is in the center.
My Creator, give me the courage to share, and the courage to listen.

The Tragedy of Life....

For TOO LONG you have allowed the past to affect you!
For TOO LONG you have taken personally what others say about you!
For TOO LONG you have stood on the sidelines watching others thrive!
For TOO MANY NIGHTS you have gone to bed worrying about what may be.
For TOO LONG you have held a fear in your heart.
For TOO LONG you have settled for second best!!

NOW is the time to awaken!
NOW is the time to shine!
NOW is the time to ACCEPT that you are DIVINE!!

This is my message for you - allow it to touch the deepest parts of your being - to help you awaken to the truth - that you do deserve to live a GREAT life - and whatever that means for you!

~ Lee-Anne Peters ~
Temple of Balance 

Image: Dreamweaver Mystic Magic via google

For TOO LONG you have allowed the past to affect you!
For TOO LONG you have taken personally what others say about you!
For TOO LONG you have stood on the sidelines watching others thrive!
For TOO MANY NIGHTS you have gone to bed worrying about what may be.
For TOO LONG you have held a fear in your heart.
For TOO LONG you have settled for second best!!
NOW is the time to awaken!
NOW is the time to shine!
NOW is the time to ACCEPT that you are DIVINE!!
This is my message for you - allow it to touch the deepest parts of your being - to help you awaken to the truth - that you do deserve to live a GREAT life - and whatever that means for you!
~ Lee-Anne Peters ~
Temple of Balance

Monday, January 13, 2014

Elder's Meditation of the Day January 13


Elder's Meditation of the Day January 13
"When you remove love and try to replace it with monetary things, you've got nothing ... get him to understand that he has to love himself before he can love anything else."
--John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG
It is said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." That's the trouble, most of us do.
Great Spirit, You are love; You are spirit. Spirit and love are interconnected. I am spiritual. Let me realize what I am really made of.

The Valley of the Shadow of the Pine Ridge

The Valley of the Shadow of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

ImageAmong the Lakota tribe, there is an old story of a holy woman named Ptesan­Wi, or “The White Buffalo Woman.” She was said have appeared out of nowhere, floating wherever she went, and taught the people four chief virtues: generosity, wisdom, courage and fortitude. Upon her departure, she said she would return one day to usher in a time of peace in an age of turmoil.
The sign of her coming, she said, would be a white buffalo born on their own land. The “Great White Buffalo” you may have heard about.
*     *     *
When I was young, my father took me to what’s called the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, just north of the Nebraska boarder and about a six hour drive from home. He went there about once a year with a team of his medical students to provide healthcare to a smattering of the 30,000 members of the Ogala Sioux tribe who call Pine Ridge home.
Well, “home” is a broad term here. At their height, the Great Sioux Nation was vast, encompassing South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming. Today, they live in a reservation about the size of Rhode Island. The healthcare is scant and what government assistance there is has been hopelessly squandered. Visits from my father and people like him help keep the tribe from dying out.
Barely.
*     *     *
On the southeastern corner of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is a tributary known as Wounded Knee, a place so marked by murder and injustice, it’s a wonder it hasn’t been torched and salted. It was here that soldiers detained a band of Sioux families led by Chief Spotted Elk, who were on their way to a council of Sioux leaders to discuss a stance of pacifism against government injustice. The soldiers asked Chief Spotted Elk and his warriors to surrender their weapons. He had been flagged as a “trouble Indian” by the government.
By all accounts, Chief Spotted Elk’s skill as a warrior was matched only by his shrewdness as a negotiator. Although he had been a firebrand in his youth, he had recently become what was known as a Ghost Dancer—an advocate for peace. He surrendered to the U.S. soldiers without a word but another young brave—named Black Coyote and deaf in both ears—was confused and did not relinquish his firearm.
There was a struggle. In the skirmish, a gun was accidentally fired, and there is little accounting for what happened next. Within minutes, some twenty-five soldiers had been killed, most by friendly fire.
The surviving soldiers said that one hundred and fifty-three Sioux had been killed. The Sioux themselves give the number closer to three hundred and fifty. All accounts agree that Sioux women and children made up most of the dead. As Chief American Horse would later recount,
There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce … A mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing that its mother was dead was still nursing … The women as they were fleeing with their babies were killed together, shot right through … and after most all of them had been killed a cry was made that all those who were not killed or wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys … came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them there.
Near the end of his life, a medicine man named Black Elk would recall that “A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream … the nation’s hope is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.”
Chief Spotted Elk died in the massacre. The U.S. Medal of Honor was awarded to twenty-three of the U.S. soldiers.
*     *     *
There are thirty-three recorded white buffalo births in America, about one for every ten million. It’s extraordinarily rare, and for one to be born on Lakota grounds would be rarer still. They have so few.
But then, in 1996, Medicine Wheel was born. His hide was so milky white, tests had to be done to prove that he was pure bison, but pure bison he was.
“For us, this would be something like coming to see Jesus lying in the manger,” said a man named Floyd Hand Looks For Buffalo, upon seeing Medicine Wheel.
*     *     *
We arrived at Pine Ridge very late, and I barely remember falling asleep in a hard bed in a small cabin. When I woke the next morning, it was to the plain, bald desert of the north, the sun blasting over barren mesas and crumbling red rock.
Many people do not care for South Dakota, but I’ve always found it beautiful. There is something striking to its loneliness. Most of this country is so young. The Sioux culture predates the United States of America by untold centuries. Their culture is tied to the land, and the land is wild.
I walk over the ridge and survey what civilization I can see, which isn’t much. The buildings are small and squat. I see bison (a small herd is maintained by the tribe.) I’ve always found it amazing that bison are real. They seem like great beasts out of some fairy tale. Small wonder the first people who ever saw them ascribed them with so much spiritual importance. I understand the temptation.
I see my dad and his students, setting up a makeshift health clinic to provide whatever care one man and his team of physician’s assistant-in-training can provide to what is believed by many to be the single poorest county in the United States—somewhere around half the population is below the federal poverty level, and unemployment rests at a solid 85%—with conditions that boggle the imagination.
The life expectancy for a woman living on Pine Ridge is 53 years. For men, it’s 47—the shortest in the Western Hemisphere. The infant mortality rate is five times higher than the national average. The teen suicide rate is four times higher. My dad calls me to help set up. He gives me a sheet of white poster board and a sign, and asks me to do the one thing I might be useful for: make a sign, letting people know where to get healthcare for the day.
*     *     *
During a solar eclipse on New Year’s Day in 1889, a Paiute by the name of Wovoka claimed to receive a vision from God. Wovoka had already developed a following among Native Americans as a powerful medicine man. He levitated. There are numerous reports of him surviving blasts from a shotgun. He was said to control of the weather, and once made a block of ice fall from the sky.
Wovoka had been raised by a devout Christian rancher and claimed to have heard from God many times before he finally understood what God was saying. In the New Year’s Day vision, he saw America the way it had been for his forefathers: unspoiled, replete with wild game and tribes living in harmony. Wovoka said God told him the path to such a paradise would only come if his people gave up war and revenge, and instead pledged to live at peace with one another and with the white man. He encouraged hard work and honesty and—curiously—a regular dance that corresponded to the passing of the sun. He called it the Circle Dance. The Sioux took to the idea quickly, but renamed it the Ghost Dance.
As the idea of dancing played so prominently into Sioux culture, Wovoka’s movement spread rapidly. While many tribes had often made the removal of the white man a chief element in their vision of paradise, Wovoka’s vision of harmony became popular. Many tribal representatives went to listen to Wovoka out of patronizing cordiality, only to leave wide-eyed believers. Ghost dances were arranged and attended by thousands, around bonfires and under desert nights pockmarked by stars. They would dance for days. They would dance until exhaustion, when they would drop in the dirt. They would dance for peace.
The U.S. Government was positively dumbfounded by Ghost Dancing. The general consensus was that it was getting in the way of the Sioux doing what they’d been sent to the reservation to do: farm. That there was no suitable farmland on the reservations was not a great concern and, seeing as the Government now perceived them to be wasting their time dancing, they cut Sioux rations in half.
Now the Sioux had no crops, no meat (white hunters had driven the bison to the brink of extinction) and, to boot, no assistance coming in from a government that had signed a treaty promising it to them. Open talk of war began to stir, but a Sioux delegation of those who held to Wovoka’s teachings on peace was convened to discuss how peace might be forged. A delegation was to meet at Stronghold Table—a mesa on the modern day Pine Ridge Reservation. Among those scheduled to attend was Chief Spotted Elk. It’s where he was headed when he was detained at Wounded Knee, as a matter of fact.
*     *     *
If I were to describe the residents of Pine Ridge today, I would do so with one word: bored. Women came to my dad’s temporary clinic in relative droves, shuffling around in white tennis shoes and acid washed jeans, their hair tied back into long braids. There were only a few men present in the clinic, although more hung around just outside the door. We’d been told that many would be drunk, and many were.
Alcoholism is the cancer of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Although beer and liquor sales had been forbidden on Pine Ridge until last year, it has always been available just across the boarder in Whiteclay, Nebraska.
Whiteclay is a town with a population of twelve. There are four liquor stores. In 2012, the town sold five million cans of beer, almost entirely to members of the Lakota Sioux tribe.
On Pine Ridge, one in four children is born with fetal alcohol syndrome disorder, which no one, least of all a team of medical students from Lincoln, can cure. Of primary concern to my father was the people’s feet, riddled with callouses.
There was a little buzz late in the day, when several members of the tribe informed my father that they had a group of young people interested in applying to the medical program he ran. He and a friend drove across the reservation to meet with this team, which led to the embarrassing discovery that it was a group of girls, the oldest of whom was 12.
*     *     *
The Native American culture has become so mutated and filtered, it’s a little difficult to separate reality from the stereotype that’s been placed over it. What used to pass for holy items can be purchased in any gas station on I-80 for the price of a Snicker’s bar. Ancient patterns and sacred decorations and jewelry are on clearance at your local Urban Outfitters. Native Americans are football mascots, emblems of environmentalism and Hollywood stand-ins anytime there’s a need for someone to recite an ancient prophecy. The line between tribute, cultural re-appropriation and out-and-out racism grows blurry. The story of the White Buffalo Woman falls on deaf ears to us, because so much of the culture has been swallowed up by chincy, dimestore Americana. Instead of preserving the culture, we’ve repurposed it for our own.
And so this is the plight of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The land that used to be theirs is ours. The culture that used to be theirs is ours.
But they do have their stories.
*     *     *
In May of 2000, a thunderstorm rolled across Pine Ridge and, in that cacophony, Medicine Wheel the white buffalo escaped his pasture and went careening down the rainswept plains. According to reports, a local police officer narrowly missed hitting him with his cruiser, and ordered a nearby motorist with a rifle to shoot Medicine Wheel dead. The motorist complied and the two of them left Medicine Wheel’s carcass in the road.
Medicine Wheel was found the next day. His neck had been slit, and he bore long streaks across his hide as if someone had attempted to drag his body down the gravel road in the night and the wild.

Honour the treaties

The poster advertising Neil Young's anti-tar sands benefits was created by Honor the Treaties artist Shepard Fairey.

Percheron World Champion

Now this is a horse. He stands 19 hands high and currently is the Percheron supreme world champion!

Now this is a horse. He stands 19 hands high and currently is the Percheron supreme world champion!

This video shows our home bred stallion Windermere's North American Maid (Moose) winning the 2010 Supreme World Championship in Des Moines, Iowa. The show took place on October 25 through 30, 2010. For more information on this stallion and stud service visit our website athttp://www.windermerefarmspercherons.com or call Gerald at 814-883-2859.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

People and Pageantry: 20 Eye-Popping Photos by Sue Reynolds ICTMN Staff 1/10/14

Photo by Sue Reynolds
Holding a Beaded Dance Staff, Montana (detail)

People and Pageantry: 20 Eye-Popping Photos by Sue Reynolds

1/10/14
Photographer Sue Reynolds was recentlyhonored by U.S. Congressman George Millerfor the photography ofStill Here: Not Living in Tipis, a book she has produced in collaboration with Salish poet Victor Charlo. Images from the book and Charlo's writings have been on display atPhoto Centralin Hayward, California, since November 1, in an exhibit of the same name; Reynolds will be giving a closing gallery talk on Sunday, January 12. Here, Reynolds shares a wealth of photos, as well as some thoughts on her work, with ICTMN. (To learn more about the book, and for buying information, visitsusanreynoldsphotography.com.)
Chacee Boy Hale, Little Shell Powwow, North Dakota. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Chacee Boy Hale, Little Shell Powwow, North Dakota. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Crow Fair Camp Silhouette. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Crow Fair Camp Silhouette. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Line of Fancy Shawl Dancers, Crow Fair. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Line of Fancy Shawl Dancers, Crow Fair. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Your book, as you make clear, is a "photo-poetry collaboration between a white urban observer and reservation Indian" -- was it important for you to collaborate with a Native on it, and why?
I collaborate with Native Americans on my photo projects because as a non-Native I'm always learning about First Nations people.  My goal is to create understanding and respect between non-Native and Native people.  That starts with me.  Who is this person I'm asking to photograph?  Who is this poet, what's his experience that comes through in his poems?
My collaboration begins with listening to people I'd like to photograph, before I make a picture.  I want that connection between us to be felt in my images.  So I want to know what's important to this person.  What's it like living on this reservation?  How is it to be one of just a few Mandans, for example, or to be an Ohlone (local) Indian in the urban San Francisco Bay Area where I, too, make my home?   The more I listen, the more I'm able to share seldom-seen Native realities with a wider world that's stuck in stereotypes.  People respond emotionally to my images.  They start to care.
Collaborating allows us to share our common humanity and doing so, we inspire others.
Dancer in Buffalo Headdress, Rocky Boy Reservation. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Dancer in Buffalo Headdress, Rocky Boy Reservation. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
GiGi Yazzie with Eagle Feather Fan. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
GiGi Yazzie with Eagle Feather Fan. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Blurring Drum Beats Circled, Flathead Reservation. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Blurring Drum Beats Circled, Flathead Reservation. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
What was your relationship to or familiarity with Victor Charlo and his work prior to doing this book?
I met Victor Charlo on Montana's Flathead Reservation in 2007 through mutual friends.  I was just getting started with my Native American work then, and I really liked Vic as a person and an artist.  He's been through amazing ups and downs, and he's stuck with his writing through everything.  Every time I'm in Montana, we get together and share our creative life, our struggles.  Vic's perseverance when life threw a bunch of roadblocks his way reminds me I have to keep going, too.  He shows me the Salish idea of "just enough," that even when it looks like not much is happening with my projects, it's always ok.
Vic gave me a copy of his book "Put Sey (Good Enough)" which is a collection of his poems, a few years ago.  When I got the idea for this new "Still Here:  Not Living in Tipis" photo-poetry book, I began to read those poems really deeply.  I was looking for how Vic's experience and my mine could come together, how my photographs and his poems could become something more when they dance together on the pages.  That way of reading, of seeing, helped me remember that despite our coming from two different worlds, we are more alike than we are different.
Last summer, I audio-recorded Vic in St. Ignatius, Montana while he read his poems that appear in the new book and exhibit.  We did several takes for many poems, and something even more beautiful was created as Vic spoke.  His words were living, moving.  In November he came to California for the book launch and exhibit opening, and he read those poems for the crowd.  When he finished up with an old Chippewa Cree song that left us breathless, I felt the gift and power of a good collaboration.   
Holding a Beaded Dance Staff, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Holding a Beaded Dance Staff, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Grand Entry at Tamkaliks Celebration, Wallowa, Oregon. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Grand Entry at Tamkaliks Celebration, Wallowa, Oregon. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Dan Old Elk, Sun Dance Chief, Crow Agency, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Dan Old Elk, Sun Dance Chief, Crow Agency, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
As a "white urban observer," you are probably aware of the issues surrounding non-Natives shooting Native subjects. How do you navigate that?
Yes, there can be lots of issues around non-Natives photographing Native American people.  For me, it's about creating relationships first.  I often keep my camera in the bag for a while because we're getting to know each other as people.  We're learning to trust each other.  I'm aware of the weight of the past, the challenges of the present and of what people may bring to the conversation.  I listen to and meet Native people on their terms, at their gatherings, often on reservation land.
I hear their stories, including ones about starvation winters at the hands of dishonest Indian agents, the role their family's ancestors played in Indian Wars, and how current policies and hard realities such as poverty and racism affect youth, elders and communities now.  I also witness the tremendous resilience of Native people.  Sometimes I share the story of my great-grandfather's fighting the Modoc Indians in the 1872 war.
Once in a while, a Native person will say "No" or be angry that I want to photograph.  Sometimes there's the misperception that I'm doing this to culturally exploit that person, that I'm only out to make a fast buck because they've experienced that with other photographers.  I respect their right to be angry, and I don't photograph without permission.  If we aren't able to have a conversation, it's ok.  Sometimes it's hard not to take Native anger personally, but I know it's not personal.  It's something bigger, and it's that bigger thing that I work to help mend as I go about my projects.
Deea Old Elk Stewart with Her Dance Belt, Crow Fair. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Deea Old Elk Stewart with Her Dance Belt, Crow Fair. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Stephen Smallsalmon, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Stephen Smallsalmon, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Elvina Hogan, Miss Crow Fair. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Elvina Hogan, Miss Crow Fair. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
What is the nature of the personal connection you feel to Native culture and subjects you photograph?
Around the time I was beginning this work, many family members died, and I found Native celebrations incredibly healing for me.  I wrapped myself in the power of the drum and singers, in the dancers' beauty, in the way the prayers made me feel whole.  I felt at home and happy among Native people, and I still do.
Traveling on that road of grief and discovering the powwow trail, there was a profound bond I shared with Native people, who accepted my grief more fully than many of my own race.  Out of those many deaths, I began a new life that puts Spirit at the center, and this is something else I have in common with most Native people.
I am grateful for what is given to me through Native people's kindness and generosity.  Showing their beauty and humanity within their traditions feels like the way I am meant to honor Native America.  It is the way I am meant to give the world the truth it needs. 
Arnie McDonald Looking East, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Arnie McDonald Looking East, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Holding the Eagle Staff, Julyamsh. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Holding the Eagle Staff, Julyamsh. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Hildegard Smith After Honoring, Blackfeet Reservation. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Hildegard Smith After Honoring, Blackfeet Reservation. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
What did the recognition from Congressman Miller mean to you as an artist? Have you received any feedback from Natives on the book or your work in general that you'd like to share?
The Congressman's recognition means more Americans everywhere are becoming interested in Native Americans, beyond preconceived notions.  More people are getting the book in their hands and having their own experience of this collaboration between a white city-bred photographer and a reservation Indian poet.  Maybe that will lead them to get to know the Native people in their own communities.  
Congressman Miller's recognition is opening new doors for my art and its message to reach more people, including an upcoming project with college students.  It feels really good that more people are eager to connect with Native Americans through my art.
Native people have been really excited about this book, and about my work with them from the beginning.  Whether it's friends or people I've just met, they tell me they love seeing themselves, their families and Indians in general portrayed in a positive light.  I was recently told by an Ohlone Indian, "You have a good heart."  That mutual respect gives me strength.  It keeps me on this good road.
Mother and Child, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Mother and Child, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Walter Holding an Eagle Feather, Crow Agency. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Walter Holding an Eagle Feather, Crow Agency. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Red Fancy Dancer, Flathead Reservation, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Red Fancy Dancer, Flathead Reservation, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Women Under a Big Sky, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Women Under a Big Sky, Montana. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Joe Bear with Eagle Staff, Blackfeet Reservation. Photo by Sue Reynolds.
Joe Bear with Eagle Staff, Blackfeet Reservation. Photo by Sue Reynolds.


Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/10/people-and-pageantry-20-eye-popping-photos-sue-reynolds-153065