It's in my blood.
Since I was given my first camera, when I was a little kid, I have always been fascinated by capturing in a shot what my eyes were seeing around me. The beauty of nature or the smile of a friend, an event or an emotion... Precious pearls to be framed in a photo. Whether freezing a movement or moving the stillness, looking at normality through a different angle or portraying the exceptional, I can choose different perspectives, I can catch reality. I think this passion is in my blood, I inherited it from my Grandpa and then from my Dad, and it has always had a great influence in my life. Come and follow me in my journey searching impressions of life.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Count-Down to the Pow Wow

Three weeks to go to the 2013 Children of Many Colors Native American Intertribal Pow Wow. The count-down continues.

You may already know from my "about" page on this blog, of my passion for Native American culture and traditions, and you can imagine how exciting it's been to attend this pow wow last year. Time is running fast and the new edition of the event organized by Redbird, is just around the corner. To celebrate, what better than honoring some of the Native American dancers that attended last July?

Today I am going to introduce you Johnny Nieto of the Tule River Yokut's Tribe and from the Tule River Indian Reservation, California. Strong athlete, born-leader and role model for the younger generations, he sets his goals high and wants to become Chairman of his Tribe to take care of his people and represent them.

                                      340mm f/11 1/1000 sec ISO 640

It's not possible not to note Johnny in the pow wow arena, for his dance performance and for the green, orange and white colors he wears. He's a grass dancer and as I learn from Corina Roberts, founder of Redbird, the Grass Dance originated on the plains, possibly within the Omaha Nation and is a very old dance.

                                    100mm f/13 1/800 sec ISO 640

It was initially coming from the need to prepare the ground for ceremonies, removing pebbles and rocks from the area and pressing down all the grass. That was down gracefully and with fluid motions, using the bottom and side of the feet, while mimicking with the body the movement of the tall grass in the wind. Tradition says that grass dancers came first, to make the way for the others who followed.

                                        100mm f/14 1/800 sec ISO 640

Originally, real tufts of grass were used, but today's regalia are made with yarn or ribbon fringes that moves as the dancers dance in the arena, representing the movement of the grass. The Grass Dance is probably one of the most "athletic" dances, requiring a lot of strength and endurance. Dancers show their style and ability and feel the dance, as you can see from the concentration Johnny has while he's dancing.

                                       100mm f/14 1/800 sec ISO 640

He is wearing a roach headpiece, made by porcupine hair, each hair tied together by hand to form this elaborate headset, which is featuring the classic feather pair. The green and orange colors of his regalia represent Porterville High School and he's also featuring the Big Foot, symbol of Tule River's Nation. Ankle bells keep the rhythm of the drum beat.

The unity with all the people around you, your family, the people you have met, and the people you love, is always present in the thoughts of all the dancers, and this comes very clear also from Johnny's words: "I just love the environment of Pow-Wow, it's the time you can just forget about the outside reality, and just be around people you love. I don't just dance for myself; I dance for those who can't dance and for healing or strength."
Thank you, Johnny for giving me the permission to post these photos, and for sharing your dance.


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