American Indian

Hopewell Mound, Ohio

The Hopewell Cultural National Historic Park in central Ohio showcases one of the country’s greatest collections of mound building. Native Americans from Mississippi, to Illinois, to Ohio, to Alabama, left a lasting legacy still visible today in the form of burial mounds. The Hopewell mound builders of central Ohio built their mounds almost 2,000 years ago. According to archaeologists, Hopewellian people gathered at mounds for feasts, funerals, and rites of passage.  The greatest collection of Hopewellian mounds can found be near Chillacothe, Ohio. (Click on the photos to see larger pictures on a separate page.)

Fancy dancing at the Seafair Seattle Pow-Wow

I really like pow-wows. They are lively, loud, physical, colorful, cultural, competitive, creative, and welcoming. One of my favorite activities in Seattle, when I lived there, was to visit Discovery Park for the annual Seafair Seattle Pow-Wow. The event fell on hard times recently, and has been cancelled, but it looks like funding was secured once more and it was held again, most recently in 2015. These shots all date from July 2013. All but one are of the male elders. What I noticed was a lot of intensity among the younger male dancers, and more energy conserving movements of the older, more veteran contestants. The most athletic did not win; it was the one who was in a space of personal expression, feeling the drum, and how that moved him.

Contestants who participated came from across the Northwest region and Canada, and tribes from the Spokane, to the Colvilles, to the Warm Springs, to the Umatilla, and more, were represented. Everyone I saw appeared to love it. The place was packed and everyone was taking pictures.

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

 

Look around and you might find art about American Indians

 

I took a drive from St. Louis to Seattle in 2013, with the goal of visiting a few places with historic significance to the story of American Indians/Native Americans. Oddly enough, the first thing I took a picture of was an electric box in St. Louis, by the light rail station, which had been painted with scenes of a buffalo hunt. I thought this must have been a locally supported art project, and I really liked these pieces. The same day I visited the Museum of Westward Expansion, under the Gateway Arch, which has a superb exhibit of the story of the West, including the loss of lands, conquest, and cultural collapse of bands who once called the American West their own.

This summer, I was passing through The Dalles, Ore., and saw the side of a local store that was painted with a mural telling the story of the treaty signed by the U.S. Government and Oregon tribes, which ceded much of the state to the United States. Large mural art by Alaskan Natives and American Indians can be found throughout the United States, but also in Canada and Mexico (by their first nations and indigenous artists). When you see something bold and creative, stop for a moment and think about the story. The art tells the tale of the land you are standing on. And the story is long, complex, and continuing.

(Please click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)