My “Indians” (Native Americans)
UPDATED, 2007
Photographed by Jair (Yair) Moreshet, 1994-2007
Background:
As a young boy in Israel, I was fascinated by the books I read of the German author Karl
May about “Indians” and pioneers in America. (These books were translated into many
languages and are considered ones of the world's all-time best-selling fiction [but not in the
US].)
I was already 45 years old visiting an American soil (or any other foreign soil) for the first
time. –Somehow though, I still expected to see “Indians” on the streets the way they became
rooted in my imagination… It took me years to actually find them.
My “Indian” friend Benjamin
who is active in preservation
of their cultural heritage in
Massachusetts, in particular
music
A wood carving in my living
room by Peter Toth.
The American artist Peter
Toth is an immigrant / refugee
from Hungary of the Soviet
era. He erected huge wood
carving monuments of
“Indians” in each and every
state of the US and Canada
as a personal mission,
honoring the Native
Americans. - He must have
read Karl May as a boy, too…
(My wood carving was
created some 20 years ago
as an intermediate step
toward the creation of the
huge carving monument in
Acadia National Park, Maine.
- I found it there, where it was
neglected in a local storage.)
Passing the heritage in a local weekend event in Massachusetts
“Indians” of the Grand Canyon area
Traditional “Cochina” dolls of the Hopi “Indians”, a few thousand $ each
Southwestern “Indian” architecture in a modern hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Southwestern “Indian” vendors sell native art on a side walk in Santa Fe
Central American Aztecs
An Aztec set the fire
for a dance over fire.
Amazon Rainforest “Indians” playing a tune on their weapon pipe used for blowing poison arrows
Eating Alligator meat leftover from their visitors
A current residence of Amazon Rainforest “Indians”
- In a bit more established village in the Amazon Rainforest
A Pow Wow event in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
A major annual Pow Wow event in Calgary, Alberta Canada, including dance competitions in several
categories: Individual men under 65, Individual women over 65, “Tribes” (whole families), etc.
The opening parade led by the most senior chief, escorted by Canadian officers.
The opening parade continues by the categories of competitors
The actual competitions begin
The sound band of the event: Traditional vocals and a common big drum in the middle
Breathless competitors waiting for the judges at the end of a round…
- When international visitor volunteers, me among them, are invited to take the stage in the
middle of the competitions…
“Open House” on the Pow Wow event grounds…
Native worshippers in a Sunday service at the Russian Orthodox Church in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka
was the colonial center of “Russian America” (Alaska) before Russia sold the territory to the USA.
Sitka, Alaska: Tall Totem
Poles in the forest.
This region has heavy annual
precipitation, the highest in
North America, which makes
trees grow fast and tall. It
may explain in part the Totem
Poles in the native culture
here and along the North
West Coast.
As opposed to the other
churches, the Russian
Orthodox missionaries didn’t
insist that the natives
completely abandon their
prior culture, including Totem
Poles.
Sitka: A monument in the form of a boat, painted with native art which, like in the case of Totem
Poles, includes icons of wild life common to the area: Eagle, Raven, Killer Whale, etc. Fishing is
both traditionally and currently the main part of the economy.
The small isolated native marine community of Metlakatla is the only “native reservation” in Alaska.
They are dedicated today to the revival and preservation of their own specific native culture after
having to abandon it at the time as required by their own beloved Christian missionary.
Metlakatla, Alaska: Native dance performance. Wooden masks are another prominent cultural
element here and along the North West Coast.
Metlakatla, Alaska: The
native regalia here carry a big
native icon of an Eagle, a
Raven, a Killer Whale, or a
Wolf -- the names of the 4
clans (chamulas) of the tribe.
By tradition, marriage is
permitted only between
different clans, which eases
a bit their concern about
intermarriages within their
tiny community.
Metlakatla, Alaska: This
Totem Pole, standing next to
one of the houses, includes a
Cross which may be a clue to
some residual struggle in
between the old and the
“new” cultures.
Ketchikan, Alaska, the Saxman Native Village: A typical traditional housing of the coastal native
tribes of the North West.
The typical traditional house consists of a single huge room that includes an open fire. It hosts a
complete clan of many individual families (with no privacy).
The small city of Ketchikan,
Alaska, has the very highest
annual precipitation in North
America, and it shows in the
high number and dimensions
of their Totem Poles. Here
with the mayor of Ketchikan,
a native himself.
Northwestern Native art in
Vancouver and Victoria,
British Columbia: In parks, in
museums and in galleries.
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Friends’ home on a lake in the Berkshires (Massachusettes)