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Plateau parade.

The Native people of the Columbia River Plateau region are proud of their horse culture and at traditional celebrations in the summer, a horse parade is still very common. At celebrations like the Pendleton Round Up in Oregon, Omak Stampede in Washington and many others the horse parade is a vibrant and awe inspiring part of the event. Families work hard to prepare the horse and rider to participate in the parade. It is a demonstration of traditional culture, horseman ship, connection to tribal culture, art and family pride. There are many art styles that are unique to the Plateau, that are present in parades like this one.

These photos demonstrate some of the distinct differences from the Plains culture to the East of the Plateau region. Material items such as beads and shells, influenced by different trade routes coming from the West Coast as well as the natural materials such as fibers for weavings made this culture visually distinctive from those of the Plains. Often this textile work manifested into bags and containers used for the collection and storage of plant based foods. The food source of the Plateau was richer in fruits from bacciferous plants, other edible vegetation and lichens, in comparison to the areas rich with larger, more abundant game animals like buffalo.

If cast in sepia tone and a different background one might easily confuse these photos for one that was taken 100 years ago. The basket hat is of a much older and more traditional style with trapezoidal design that is common design in old corn husk bags. The lady in these two photographs is wearing a beaded hide dress that has been chalked with red ochre on the panels of either side of the shoulders. On the back of the horse is a large beaded blanket with beaded strip. Attached to the back of the saddle is a rawhide cylinder that appears to be quite old given it's misshape and patina. The horse is adorned with a very large beaded martingale that is trimmed with small hawk bells in a bead net design. Only partially visible is a Plateau cradle board that is hanging from the horn of the native saddle. A beaded cradle is a common decorative item in a horse parade.

An absolutely amazing display of Plateau style in this parade entry (right). When you have beaded everything else you possibly can for your horse, I suppose beaded cuffs for each leg is the next logical step. This author has seen beaded hoof covers before but this is the first time for leg cuffs and hoof bells. Probably more practical and less problematic than hoof covers, the "cuffs" are a beautiful addition to this fine steed. The riders outfit is perfectly coordinated with roses on a turquoise background, including her hat, dress, hair ties, belt, belt pouch, cuffs, and moccasins and leggings. Across the lap of the rider is a beautiful Plateau style blanket strip mounted on a navy blue, wool blanket. The horse is decorated with a beaded headstall including a cone of hawk feathers, beaded and fringed reigns and martingale that match the beaded flat bag hanging on the horn of the native style saddle.

Julyamsh is the Coeur d'Alene tribal powwow held annually in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and includes powwow dancing, a Native fine arts show as well as a fantastic horse parade. Horse parades are common in this part of Native country. Horses are decorated just as ornately as the riders. Witnessing a horse parade is a memorable experience. Some basket hats, such as this one, appears to have the contrasting color applied with wool yarn instead of dyed plant fiber. It provides a more vibrant hue and has long history of use in fiber art of this type. Around the horn on the saddle hangs two baskets that would typically be used for collecting plant foods like berries. To the left side of the horse is a "flat" bag with a patriotic design applied in a couched overlay. The martingale hanging in front of the horse seems to be a re-purposed mink stole and a beaded flat bag for the center panel. For those who appreciate horses, this one is a real beauty and adds to the overall impression.

Photographs by Brian Fraker
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Title Annotation:Powwow Fashions
Author:Jones, Craig
Publication:Whispering Wind
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2014
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