How Rich We Are...

June 22, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I was actually with one of the bands I shoot for on tour in Gallup, NM back in 2014. Gallup is a small settlement in the heart of Native American Indian country, and famous Mother Road, Historic Route 66, is the main drag through town. The band was playing at a convention hall in town. We had arrived a day early to load in. During that time, the convention hall was also hosting a local Emergency Services seminar. As is customary in even white cultures, seminars and conventions often conclude with a reception or party. Being near the Navajo Nation capital of Window Rock, AZ, the attendees were mostly Native American Indian themselves, and as such their after-party was a powwow. As the focus of the Emergency Services seminar was Child Safety, local leaders decided to hold and intertribal children's powwow. Having grown up in the Midwest and being a newcomer to the Southwest, I had never seen anything like this. I kept trying to sneak a peek through the hall doors to catch a glimpse. Finally, one of the ladies present asked me if I would like to come in...and she pointed at my camera slung over my shoulder (which I am never without) and even encouraged me to take pictures.

What followed was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Powwows are very real and they are still very much a part of the modern Native American Indian culture, just as they have been for centuries. There were two drum circles on either side of the room, and in the center, children marched and danced in their Native costumes. I still don't know what, exactly, the meanings of everything was, and I was too choked to ask questions, so I decided to just take in the moment for what it was and what it was worth, and in that moment I realized how very blessed and proud I am to call these people my Neighbors.

This is one of my all-time favorite photos that I've ever taken. It's not technically perfect, but it captures the spirit of the moment that I experienced that night, and to this day it brings tears to my eyes every time I look at it because in it I see how truly rich we are.


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