WATCHER OF THE PLAINS
Have you ever listened to the night? I mean “really” listened?
As a youth, I trapped. Many a 5 a.m. would find me walking through dark woods to check my trap line. It was there that I learned to listen – not only with my ears but with all my senses (especially my heart – ever thought of your heart as a sense?).
I wanted to depict a Plains (Mandan) Indian listening to the night and his spirit. He’s lost in thought about his people, his way of life. His mind and heart embodies contemplation. He breathes in his surroundings.
The Mandan Indians lived along the Missouri River in the North / South Dakota’s. They were known for outlandish hairstyles and headdresses. This piece depicts a warrior with a turkey feather bonnet. The spine of feathers sticking out the top of the headdress and going down the back are Eagle feathers. There are scalps hanging from the spear. The blanket wrapped around his haunches was probably acquired from a French trapper in the area. Notice the parting of the feathers on the Indians right side – there is a slight breeze in the night air.