Indians are cowboys

  • RIDERS: B.R. Amos and his little brother, Levi, bullfighters

    Linda MacConnell
  • Steer rider Bryan Labelle

    Linda MacConnell
 


In old Western movies, the roles are rigid: characters on horseback are either cowboys or Indians. But these stereotypes, like most, are limiting and untrue. In reality, many Indians are cowboys, as the book, Riders of the West, demonstrates.


Photographer Linda MacCannell and writer Peter Iverson set the record straight by following the Indian rodeo circuit from Arizona, throughout the Rocky Mountain West and into southwestern Canada. MacCannell, whose grandparents grew up on the Navajo Reservation, illustrates the importance of rodeo to Indian culture with portraits of bored and anxious bull riders, rodeo clowns in their full regalia of face paint and knee-pads, and young mutton busters rocketing into the ring.


"This is photography unplugged. There are no digital enhancements, no soft focus lenses, no traveling stage props," she writes. "It was just me - with my 85 pounds of photographic gear - pulling into the rodeo grounds, looking forward to an afternoon of rodeo action and some conversations."


The dramatic photographs are interspersed with text by Iverson, a professor of history at the University of Arizona. Through the five essays the reader learns about the history and significance of horses in tribal culture, including the tale of how the Lakota named the horse sanka wakan, or holy dog. Though Iverson's style is academic, he spices it up with vivid interviews of bull riders, champion calf ropers and saddle bronco riders. At its core, Riders of the West is optimistic. It depicts how rodeo helps Indian youth create a legacy of hope and pride, transcending the severe poverty and rampant alcoholism that often await them beyond the arena,.


Riders of the West, Peter Iverson and Linda MacCannell. University of Washington Press, 1999. Paperback: $24.95. 120 pages.
High Country News Classifieds
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Communications Associate Director Location: Flexible within the Western U.S., Durango, CO preferred Position reports to: Senior Communications Director The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF)...
  • HISTORIC HOTEL & CAFE
    For Sale, 600k, Centennial Wyoming, 6 suites plus 2 bed, 2 bath apartment. www.themountainviewhotel.com Make this your home or buy a turn key hotel [email protected]
  • MAJOR GIFTS OFFICER
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Major Gifts Officer to join our...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • VICE PRESIDENT, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION
    Basic Summary: The Vice President for Landscape Conservation is based in the Washington, D.C., headquarters and oversees Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing...
  • BRISTOL BAY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Seeking a program director responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of the Alaska Chapter's priority strategy for conservation in the Bristol Bay region of...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The National Bighorn Sheep Center is looking for an Executive Director to take us forward into the new decade with continued strong leadership and vision:...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Powder Basin Watershed Council, based in Baker City, Oregon, seeks a new Executive Director with a passion for rural communities, water, and working lands....
  • CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Type: Permanent, fulltime Reports to: Executive Director Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state and out-of-state required Compensation (beginning): $44,000 to 46,500/yr., DOE plus excellent benefits...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, based in Ely, Nevada is looking for a new executive director to replace the long-time executive director who is retiring at...
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • LOG HOME IN THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Beautiful hand built log home in the heart of the Gila Wilderness on five acres. Please email for PDF of pictures and a full description.
  • CARETAKER
    2.0 acre homestead needing year-round caretaker in NE Oregon. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.