Powwow 2019 Calendar
Since the 1800s, Native American Plains tribes have gathered for powwows to celebrate their rich heritage. The tradition continues with emphasis on spiritual and competitive dances. Photographer Chris Roberts shares the tradition through compelling images. POWWOW 2019 captures the energy of powwow dancers who proudly preserve their ancestral traditions.
Powwows and dancers featured in the 2019 calendar include:
“My name is Precious Little Dancer David, from Post Creek, Montana. I am Chippewa Cree, Piikani, Pend' Oreille, and Tlingit. My goals are to go to college and become a registered nurse. I have been dancing since I could walk. I started off dancing Jingle and then started dancing Fancy Shawl. My family and I travel all around powwow country.”
Fancy dancer Chaz Baker is from Rocky Boy, Montana. He is a gifted athlete who has been attending college when he’s not on the powwow circuit. Chaz was competing at the 2017 North American Indian Days in Browning, Montana.
Hahots Shebala, Nez Perce/Navajo/Oglala Sioux, is an accomplished Northern Traditional dancer. “I am 21 years old from Kooskia, Idaho. I have been dancing ever since I can remember. I am currently working on my bachelor degree in Business management attending Northwest Indian College, and I also am a full time farrier. Qeci'yew'yew (thank you).“
Nabahe Shebala, Blackfeet/Dine. "My name is Nabahe (Na-bah-hee) Piikani Shebala, which means Piikani Warrior Shebala. On my mother’s side I am Blackfeet and on my father’s side I am Dine. I am five years old and like to dance Northern Traditional.” Nabahe comes from a Powwow family where everyone participates in dancing and singing. He was photographed at Helena, Montana’s Last Chance Community Powwow. Hahots Shebala is his uncle.
Jonathan Brewer, Blackfeet/ Blood. “I am a forty year-old Canadian Men’s Traditional dancer who is currently going to school for my Bachelors of Social Work. When I have free time I love to hit the powwow trail. Most people know me as an actor (DreamKeeper, Apocalypto) but it’s more of a hobby than a job. When I’m not going to school or on the powwow trail I work as a youth counselor.”
Nine year old Justus Cree Jr. is Assiniboine/Cree/Nooksack/Warm Springs. “I love to powwow. Singing and dancing is so much fun. I get to dance hard for all the people who can't dance. I enjoy dancing Traditional because I get to tell a story of battle when I dance. When we travel to go dance I get to see so many cool places all over USA and Canada.” His father Justus Cree Sr. participates in powwows as a dancer and on powwow staffs. They were attending the Clearwater River Casino Powwow in Lewiston, Idaho.
Laurencia Starblanket is Salish and a member of the Starblanket Cree Band of Canada. “I am seventeen years old and dance Old Style Jingle Dress. I am a Senior at Arlee, High School and participate with the Arlee Scarlet basketball and cross country teams. I enjoy summer time traveling and meeting new people while I dance and sing with the Lower Crossing Drum group.”
Russell McCloud, Puyallup/Yakama/Umatilla, forty years old, is a champion dancer known throughout Indian Country. “I’ve been dancing the Northern Straight Traditional style since I could walk. I love to dance and represent my people and family all over the United States. Dancing is my whole being and I have raised my children in this way of life.” Russell and his family live in Washington State.
Leah McGurk Brown, Navajo. “As a Navajo powwowing is not our traditional way. Being born and raised in California we were introduced to this way of life. In California the powwow is more Inter-Tribal where we native people come together to share our culture. By travelling across the US and Canada we’ve made lots of friends and been taken as family by many. In this way we have adapted and learned other tribe’s ways and traditions and to respect and honor them. I am pictured here wearing the buckskin dress of my adopted sister Shayne Hughes a member of Otoe Missouri and Kaw tribe of Oklahoma. She encourages me to always be proud of who we are and where we come from.”
Alvin Yellow Owl is 33 and a Blackfeet educator. “Oki! My name is Alvin Yellow Owl III. My Indian name is “Ootahkiitsipistoo” Yellow Owl. I dance the Northern Contemporary style. Every time I have the opportunity to dance I feel so blessed by God to do what I love since I had a serious car accident some years back. Every day is a cherished day when I get to dance in the powwow circle with friends and family. I hope you all have a blessed year and safe travels, Aho!”
Ike Carpenter. “I am a twenty year-old Flathead from St. Ignatius, Montana. I am a Traditional dancer. I dance Traditional because it is the style I was first introduced to when I was ten and I stuck with it. Ten years later I am still dancing the same style.”
Ira L. Walks, Crow/Cree. “Sho-Da-Gee! My Indian name, Awaxaawaa-sh-tash, means "Goes to the Mountains". My journey began in 2002 with the start of my recovery from alcoholism.My wife and I were attending powwows in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming with our arts and crafts booth. My older brother encouraged me to dance the Traditional Crow style. He advised me that dancing and camaraderie with powwow participants is a part of healing. He helped me with my regalia. My wife and I now make regalia for our grandchildren and dance with them. This is a blessing in itself.In our travels we meet many people and make many friends along the way.This is why I dance. Aho!”