World ethnic art

Modern Native American art:

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And if you have ever been to a pow wow, you know this is what it “feels” like.

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No, but I got to watch Fancy Dancers and a champion Hoop Dancer performing at the school I worked at way back when.
I’ve spend time in sacred* Indian places, and I think I have a hint of what it ‘feels’ like - but no matter how groovy my mood can get, I’ll never have that genetic memory, that really brings ceremony alive within the soul.

Those painting are definitely moving for me. Nicely done!

*although I’m a bit leery about the “sacred” word, since I think it’s over used and under considered.


Hmmm, actually memory stirs, I was a sort of pow-wow (there’s pow-wow’s and there’s pow-wow) at Mesa Verde NP a couple decades back. Too many tourists to really get into the right frame of reference. But the dancing was cool and hearing the chanting in person is different from on the radio (I do live in the heart of the Four Corners, with a few native language radio stations. One station I listen to while doing SH 191 through northeast Arizona has surprisingly pretty good old rock’n roll, wish I could remember their call letters.) thanks for reinvigorating that memory.

I had the good great fortune to attend several pow wow in Montana.

These dance competitions were held in Oklahoma.

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I’ve been to a Sweat, but only came close to going to a Pow Wow. Family matters sometimes get in the way of fun… If you know what I mean.

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High self-esteem…

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The Eagle feather was a gift to my wife

From our days with the Indians.

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I can almost see those moccasins doing a little shuffle and I’m sure I’m hear that drum beat off in the background of my mindscape. I’ll bet that was some magically wonderful times you had in Montana.

Best I’ve done is receive a little medicine bag made specially for me from a very cool Indian I worked and partied with, back in da day. I do cherish it.

I worked as proposal writer for the Kootenai tribe in Idaho. Wrote a program to support native art and the tribe started a class in authentic brain-tanning. My wife and I both attended and learned the “old” way of hide shearing and scraping over a tree stump from an 80 year old lady who still had the skill and strength to create small but beautiful hides.

At home (garage), I modernized it a bit by using an 10’ , 8"dia. plastic sewer pipe (left-over from a construction site) cut with angled ends so it could be slanted to a wall and providing the smoothest possible surface for dressing the hides.

After shaving the hide with a very sharp butcher knife, instead of sharpened stones or a folded tin can lid, I used a curved drawknife (with the sharp edge filed flat) to scrape the epidermis down to the soft dermis. Instead of deer brains we soaked the scraped hides in a bath of warm water and dispersed pig brains from our local butcher to infuse the hide with fatty acids.

After the marinating process the hides were hung up until almost dry and then two people would take the ends of the hide which at that stage is an ugly slimy gray blob, and stretch the hide while turning it slowly between each pull.

And then the magic happens. As the hide dries while being pulled the gray miraculously changes into a creamy white velvety cloth, soft enough to sew by hand with needles thin enough for beading.

When this initially dirty wet smelly hard labour requiring gloves and face mask and the following preparation is executed with care and dedicated precision, the tanner is rewarded with a cloth worthy of being worn by an Indian princess.

If waterproofing is required the hide needs to be smoked with the smoke of aged crumbled Larch . The trick is to start a small fire in an enclosed area until there is a bed of glowing charcoal which is then covered with a blanket of crumbled Larch and the hides hung up above the smoldering charcoal for several days. The result is a beautiful reddish brown creosote smoke that waterproofs the hide which can then be used for outdoors purposes.

We entered our hides in an Indian Fair in Vancouver BC and won a blue ribbon for excellent craftsmanship.

I had the good fortune of inheriting an old industrial Singer straight stitch machine and made about 100 pr moccasins , some which my wife beaded.

I recall one lady who inspected a pair of moccasins and accused us of using fake chamois for leather, which I took as a compliment. We had to show her a complete tanned hide before she was convinced it was the real thing. (btw, our moccasins sold from $30 to $ 120 a pr} A full hide sold for $300.00 (almost making it worth the effort.)

I bet today a fully dressed traditionally brain-tanned Elk hide would bring about $800 -$1000.00


Native American Handmade Deerskin Hide Painting The Buffalo Dancer 52"x 36"
Condition: New

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