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Book Reviews

Faces from the Land

Faces from the Land. The year after Ben and Linda Marra married, they went to a powwow. The purpose of the trip was to shoot photos for a Seattle printer that would show off their color capabilities. It was the beginning of a journey for the Marras. For twenty years, theyve been following the “Red Road,” or the powwow trail, photographing dancers against a plain brown background. The subjects always receive a photo or two in exchange, and no one is ever turned away. The detail of the beadwork, leatherwork, jingles, feathers, and weaving make this an important resource for both dancers and historians. The dancers that appear in the Marras books or exhibitions are also asked to submit a personal narrative. In Faces from the Land (Abrams, 978-0-8109-8335-9), the stories tell of dancing in prisons, falling asleep to a grandmothers Ojibwe stories, dancing for the fallen in Vietnam, and dancing for a grandfather. The dancers come from across the US and Canada. They are the descendents of warriors killed at the Big Hole Battle; they wear feathers from Pine Ridge. They mention in passing the years spent in Indian boarding schools, in World War II, but mostly, they thank their families who gave them the opportunity to respect the elders and their ceremonies. ForeWords cover image is taken from this treasure of a book.

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