Sylvia Horwitz Photography

Artist's Statement - POWWOW: Touch the Earth

These photographs were taken at Grand Portage, Minnesota during Rendezvous Days at four separate powwow gatherings. At opening ceremonies, tribal flags are carried along with the flags of Canada and the United States. Throughout the weekend event, veterans of foreign war and the families of those who died in military service are honored.

Moccasined feet touch the earth in traditional steps as ancestors are remembered. The elders speak of how they felt the same heartbeat of the drums and rhythm of the dance in the land of many nations, long before there were reservations. The women of Grand Portage Reservation know that their strong sense of ethnic identity has been the key to survival. “We are still Indian in spite of a thousand treaties and missionaries with their black frocks” writes one Ojibwe author. “We will endure because we are Indian.” (Ref: D. Bibeau in Lake Superior Indians) Inspired by those who have handed down elements of tribal heritage from generation to generation, they sew outfits with beads, ribbons, feathers, and fringe for the powwow dancers. These women honor the great cycles of nature and tradition, bestowing upon their children a sense of pride, purpose, and destiny in their vital role as living history.

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