After leaving Glacier National Park behind us and heading to Yellowstone, we came cross Browning, this little Blackfeet town in the middle of nowhere, and visited the Museum of the Plains Indians. The Blackfeet Indians have been around this region for nearly ten thousand years! For being so far in the West side, the Blackfeet people only had contact with traders and hunters in the early 19th century. While checking out the exhibition, I noticed that most of their art contained beads and works that would need a needle. Gregg, the guy who worked there, told me that Indians loved beads (which were exported from Asia and Europe) because they could enhance their art and clothing with it. They also traded fur for needles, guns and knives, frying pans, whiskey, and horses; likewise, horses changed the Indians´ lifestyle. They made hunting buffalo much easier, for it was the main source of food, clothing, and shelter. Hunting requested great courage and strength in a male Indian, and those were the main factors that made one great and respected. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, the Blackfeet women made practical clothing and utensils; accordingly, the Blackfeet women were among the most well-dressed women in North American tribes-beads, chokers, rings, earrings, and leggings were popular clothing-and their woven skills provided sophisticated designs. Amongst the men, smoking was a matter of symbolism, politics and religion. One of the most meaningful topics to the Blackfeet Indians was religion, and it was often practiced with dances and music. A practiced religious movements was the Ghost Dance, which was a dance based upon the belief of the coming of the Messiah. It was seen in a revelation that a new world was coming, it would restore their culture and costumes that were taken from them, and it would also bring back their loved ones that passed away.
I talked to one of the museum´s local artist, Ernest Marceau Jr., and I got to see some of his abstract line art, which mostly captures the movement and the spirit of the painting instead of the details. If you are ever around Browning, you definitely should check the Museum of the Plains Indian and him out(: