Kids will be kids

Photographer Rebecca Drobis looks for universal images of youth on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.

  • Bryson Bird, left, and Rhett Michael, both 6 years old, shield themselves from the wind on their way to assist with calving on the Rumney Ranch, 20 miles north of Browning, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Sadie Time Sleeping, 6, compares her handprints with those left on a garbage dumpster. Heart Butte, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Asia, 7, plays on a trampoline in a neighbor's yard. Browning, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • A school bus travels Montana Highway 2 between East Glacier and Browning on the Blackfeet Reservation.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Sophia, 7. Two Medicine Lake, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Children play outside Last Star Homes. Browning, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Left to right: Tyler, 6, Frankie, 5, and Jimmy and Brilee, 4, play on an old horse trailer. East Glacier, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • A Blackfeet teenager sends a text message to a friend while on horseback. Heart Butte, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Students on a Boys & Girls Club photography field trip. Heart Butte, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Tiffany Polk prepares her daughter, Danaya Vandeburg, for the Tiny Tot Competition at North American Indian Days on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Children pose with an uncooperative kitten. Browning, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana.

    Rebecca Drobis
  • Annie Whitney, 6, stands at Logan Pass on the Going to the Sun Highway during a field trip to Glacier National Park with the Browning Boys & Girls Club. Before it became a national park, this land belonged to the Blackfeet Tribe.

    Rebecca Drobis

 

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On the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana, winters are long and difficult, unemployment is high and infrastructure lacking. Children grow up without the latest video games and movies or a rigid schedule of activities. But despite the sometimes-harsh realities of the reservation, their imaginations flourish. Photographer Rebecca Drobis has been making trips to the reservation over the last decade. Impressed by their resilience, Drobis trained her camera on the reservation's youth, hoping to capture universal images of childhood.

"There exists the purity of imaginative play -- an intersection between raw nature and the developing mind of a child," Drobis writes. "These children have tremendous physical confidence, strength and a spirit of fearlessness. They race down pothole-covered roads on bicycles, bound from a trampoline onto a neighbor's car, sled down a hill at top speed in subzero temperatures and run barefoot through deep woods. And the natural world has a deep and meaningful presence in a child's life here."