Xavier University director of photography Greg Rust has photographed life in and customs on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana for the past five years. Rust and his daughter Erin, Xavier class of 2012, were invited initially by tribal member Dennis Limberhand. Theirs has become a friendship of mutual respect, and has resulted in a photo exhibit and video premiere at Xavier University’s Gallagher Student Center Clock Tower Lounge on Nov. 14th at 4:00 pm. The Rusts will discuss their visits to the reservation. Erin will address the historical significance of the horse to the tribes through her research done while earning her history minor.
The video is viewable at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oTL87v982M&feature=youtu.be.
The 20 images in the photo exhibit, “Northern Plains Customs” were made by Greg Rust in Montana on the Cheyenne and Crow reservations. The 16x24 color images capture fleeting moments of time at rodeos, powwows and while riding horses on the reservation. The video tells the story of life on the reservation through the words and experiences of Leroy Whiteman and Dennis Limberhand, members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Both grew up on the reservation, living and learning about the importance of the horse and buffalo to the Cheyenne. They also learned about their ancestors, who fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. As part of Native American Heritage Month, Rust talked with the two about their lives, their tribe and their heritage.
The Northern Plains of the American West were sparsely inhabited until the horse made the vast grasslands accessible to native peoples. With the arrival of horses, Native Americans developed a nomadic lifestyle that bound them to the migratory tides of the great herds. With the demise of this lifestyle, tribes were forced to adapt to life on reservations. Their bond with the horse survived that transition. As “Indian cowboys,” many Cheyenne, Lakota and Crow make their living off the back of a horse. They display their horsemanship skill in rodeo competitions. Often coinciding with rodeos, powwows are a venue for Native Americans to socialize and share tribal traditions and culture. These public gatherings are places to compete for awards in singing, dancing and costume.
Xavier University’s Offices of Multicultural Affairs and University Communications, International Student Services and department of History and are co-sponsors of the photo exhibit, video, and opening talk.