The Pow Wow is the centre of the Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Annual Celebrations. Last Friday evening Kezia and I went to the Redwood Meadows Fairground before the Grand Entrance. Kezia was invited to join her friend dancing afterwards which hit the night out of the park for her. The photography was great along the way with the beautiful regalia in the late sunlight.
I went next door to the Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow and All-Indian Rodeo with Bobbi, Kezia and a few of our friends.
After watching both, Kezia preferred the Pow Wow over the rodeo. Bobbi and I were lucky as we were invited to join her so we all had a great time listening to the drums and singing as well as watch the wonderful dancing.
Tomorrow is the last day of this great annual event. I will be focusing on the rodeo over the dancing this year so it was great to have a few hours to watch the competitions that follow the grand entrance.
The new Bragg About the Creek magazine has just been published. My article, The Spirit of a Nation, about the Tsuu T’ina First Nation’s Annual Pow Wow and Rodeo is included in this issue. The article, more a photo essay, presents images and some of my thoughts from the past three celebrations. If you are interested in viewing the article with text and high-resolution images, please click this link (note – the file is a 2.3 MB PDF).
I live in Redwood Meadows on Tsuu T’ina land and the Beaver Dome (where the Pow Wow takes place) and the rodeo grounds are just across the road. My neighbours put on a collection of great events for young, old and everyone in-between. I have always had a fantastic time and, if you have an opportunity to visit Bragg Creek this summer, consider checking out this year’s celebration which runs from July 26th to the 28th.
A dancer in full regalia spins during the Grand Entrance on July 29th at the Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow.
I was under the weather this year and only went over to the Pow Wow one day this year for a few hours. I still have to work through the images from the Grand Entrance but I can say it was another great event put on by the Tsuu T’ina Nation. This year seemed quite a bit bigger than last year and I again enjoyed the excitement, fun and enthusiasm on display among the dancers, the organizers and the crowd. It is a fantastic weekend and I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to spend more time across the road with my neighbours.
This past weekend was the Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow and Rodeo held in Redwood Meadows, just east of Bragg Creek. This event has an incredible atmosphere with band members from First Nations across Canada and the United States attending.
The Pow Wow starts with the Grand Entrance where all of the dancers enter and then move around the center of the Beaver Dome. As the drum circles from different nations take turns pounding and singing out songs, the dancers stream in and join the throng of people dancing, walking and jumping as they circle around the central pillar.
I live on the Tsuu T’ina Nation’s land and feel very lucky to be a neighbour of the people and to be able to so easily enjoy their culture. The performers dance for healing and the spirituality that envelops the dancers and the crowd is palpable and inescapable. Just as I said last year at the end of the 2010 Pow Wow, I am already eager for next year’s.
I previously posted about the Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Annual Pow Wow and Rodeo event that I attended in July. Now that we are almost into September, I took some time to work through the stack of images that I made while I was at the Pow Wow. There were great characters, incredibly ornate outfits and a wonderful cacophony of color – it really was a lot of fun for everyone. For photographers, there was a lot to work with and the opportunity to make some interesting, beautiful photographs.
I choose two main types of images that I wanted to make. For one, I wanted to get sharp images of the regalia and the people. Beyond documenting the event, I wanted to show some of the emotion and purpose that the people put into their dancing. With the second type of images I wanted to convey the motion of the event. All of the dancers moved in a clockwise direction around the central supports of the Beaver Dome. There were upwards of a couple of hundred children and adults moving around the circle and within this path, performing their particular dance. The swirls of color grabbed attention as the dancers and their dancing outfits traced out their stories in response to the drum circles and chanting. I started out at floor level using a wide angle lens (Canon 17-40 F/4) to be in the middle of the scene and then went up to the sound booth, had a good chat with Jim a sound technician from Hobbema, and spent much of the afternoon using a longer lens (Canon 70-200 and 300 IS) from up there. I wanted to get higher so that I could shoot downwards and keep the bright daylight outside from spilling into my shots. The Beaver Dome is an open sided building so during a sunny day, the outer edges show up as very bright, very wide horizontal patches of white in the background of your images if you are at ground level and facing outwards. Going higher, allowed me to have other dancers, the carpet and the crowd in the background instead. Adjusting the aperture, I was able to choose whether to have these background elements in focus or blurred into abstract.
The two types of images required two different techniques. For the sharp images of the people, I used short exposures with a high ISO to freeze the action and minimize any blurring. With the relatively dark lighting inside this often worked out to 1/40 second and 1/80 second at F/4 with an ISO 800. I put up the shutter speed to 1/160 and 1/200 a few times just to make sure I had sharp images in the bank but, back at the computer, I have been happy with a number of the relatively slower shots that allowed more light in so the colors could really pop as they did when I was there.
Conversely, longer exposures To capture the motion, ended up being between 1/4 and 1/15 seconds using an ISO range of 100-400. I kept my aperture mostly locked at F/4 as it was working to separate individuals from the surrounding crowd and distracting background elements while keeping most or all of the person and their regalia in focus.
Right across Highway 22 from my house is the location of the annual Tsuu T’ina nation’s Rodeo and Pow Wow. What an incredible event to have in the Bragg Creek area.
Yesterday, I spent the day on the grounds photographing the Pow Wow Grand Entrance and then the evening’s rodeo events. The people working, competing, dancing and enjoying these events were great to talk to and extended great warmth and friendliness to me. I feel very honoured to have been able to enjoy these festivities with our local Tsuu T’ina band members and the people from other nations all across North America.
I will have more photo essays up but wanted to get a quick post up with images from the Grand Entrance. This ceremony sees all of the first nation people who are dancing in the Pow Wow enter into the Beaver Lodge. This is an large pyramid open all sides with a two tiered roof sloping upwards resembling a beaver lodge in a general sense. Moving in a steady procession, the center of the lodge is soon completely packed as men and women, boys and girls of all ages circle around the main column in the middle. Easily a couple of hundred dancers pulsed inside at the height of the ceremony.
They were carried onwards, dancing with little break for up to half an hour, by the drumming circles from different nations attending. The drums and accompanying singing was incredible, powerful and charged the atmosphere. It was a mesmerizing scene to be in, around and a part of.
Here are a few more images from my first look through the images I made (click on the photographs to see larger images).
As a footnote, Tsuu T’ina means beaver in their language although I do not yet know how they came to be called by the name. Much to learn about my neighbours across the road, I better find time to do so as I’m very interested.