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  Field Notes From
Indian Renaissance

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From Author

Joseph Bruchac

Indian Renaissance On Assignment

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From Photographer

Maggie Steber

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Maggie Steber


Indian Renaissance On Assignment Author Indian Renaissance On Assignment Author
Indian Renaissance

Field Notes From Author
Joseph Bruchac

Best Worst Quirkiest
    I was at the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, and Karen Sussman, one of the leaders in rescuing and sustaining wild mustang horses, took me out to a pasture on her ranch at dusk. We sat at the top of a hill in her truck looking for a herd, and one gradually began approaching us. Karen told me if I left my window down and held still, a mustang might actually come to greet me. The next thing I knew one walked right up to the truck, stuck its head in the window, and started nuzzling my face. "You've just been kissed by a wild horse," Karen said.
It was a very moving experience. Horses are truly beautiful animals and have one of the most amazing connections with humans. In the native community, they're literally like members of the family.

    Late one night I checked into a brand-new hotel—complete with a giant indoor waterslide—near the Bois Forte Chippewa Reservation in northern Minnesota. I was sure I would be able to get a comfortable night's sleep, but I was wrong. The hotel was near a train crossing, and every hour on the hour these trains carrying lumber from Canada blew their horns.

    It's interesting how the past and the present combine on the reservation. Over the past few years rap has become incredibly popular on the reservations, and kids are dressing and talking like they're from the urban ghettos. As one DJ put it, "We live in a ghetto, only ours is on the reservation, so we got a lot in common."
    Yet at the same time these kids come to community powwows—completely dressed in traditional regalia—and they know all the songs and dances. They're extremely bicultural. I guess there's always been a little element of that on the reservation. When I was young, everyone listened to cowboy music and wore cowboy boots and hats. A lot of the older people still dress that way.


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