This week, Erica V. suggests we try our hand at a different kind of portrait. She writes in part, …”Explore the use of anonymity to express both that which is common to all of us and the uniqueness that stands out even when the most obvious parts of us are hidden.” You can read her entire challenge post here. Thinking about the challenge, I was reminded of my trips to a couple of Native American Powwows and what, to this citizen of European heritage, uniqueness is found in these displays of Native American culture and heritage.
I know next to nothing about the Native American culture, most of what I learned was in college during classes relating to education and the inclusion of a required Native American Studies curriculum required of education graduates.
When it comes to the highly costumed powwow participants, I know not the uniqueness of their Native American historical dress (or the lack thereof.) I do find it an interesting parallel to the Civil War re-creators and their costuming, but it would seem that the Native American Powwow is a celebration of a heritage where the Civil War recreators are celebrators of a certain period in history.
To me, the non-native, these costumes have no significance that I know of, yet I suspect that those educated in the culture can recognize specifics about each costume that is beyond my comprehension. What I take from these simple portraits included in the gallery below is that whatever the meaning of these ceremonial costumes, they reflect a culture and a heritage that I can only imagine. The collection of images in this post have never been published before. I purposely selected images that make the faces less visible in deference to the challenge presented. In most browsers, you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.