New Native American Portrait Photography Project Has a Very Strong Start

This project has been on the drawing board for a couple of months before I was able to work out all the kinks. The major hold back was finding Native American participants willing to move forward on this project with me on the faith that I would pull something together to make this portrait project strong without any examples to go off from. I offer a big thank you to Skye Hall and Alex Elaine for going along for the ride with me. The other major hurdle was trying to decide on the direction I was going to take. Was this photography project going to be about Native American practicing their cultural heritage dressed to fit the part? Was it going to be about who they are as a person today? After a lot of research and digesting my own thoughts I decided to blend the two, kinda. The project is about who they are as their own person while using specifically chosen locations and small accessories which help steer you to their Native heritage. Some of the images you may notice full American Indian dress and make up which was the case with Skye. She is a competitive Pow Wow dancer that competes around the country. This is who she is today.


Why did I come to this conclusion instead of doing full dress for all of my project portraits? I have two reasons why I didn’t. The first would be the logistics and cost to accomplish this for every shoot would be fairly expensive and beyond the means of this project. The second reason was that I thought about my German and Norwegian heritage and how I do not have ties to it. I have no traditional dress or any idea of any of my cultural traditions. All I can come up with of my heritage at the moment would be traditional based food dishes. This made it clear to me that this projected needed to be focused on the person and to let their faces tell the story of what their heritage is.









“My Native American heritage includes Hidatsa, Mandan, Assiniboine and Crow. I am enrolled in Three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. I grew up on the Fort Berthold Reservation for half of my life and was raised by my mother Nina Fox and my family. My grandmother Germain Fox was my role model and responsible with getting me into dancing. She told my mother, “As soon as her feet touch the ground she’s going to start dancing.” She was right, I started powwowing as soon as I started walking and dancing has since been a huge part of my life for 18 years. I have competed across the United States and Canada as a Fancy Shawl Dancer. I also dance jingle and traditional, which are other styles of the women’s categories at powwows. I make all of my outfits and I have taught myself how to sew at the age of 15 years old. I have also learned how to bead and have since learned how to do feather work as well. My mother Nina Fox also does beading for my outfits.

I was very blessed growing up learning about our traditional ceremonial ways. My family is very involved with our ceremonial ways of life, which is my religion that I hold strongly today. My Indian Names are Holy Evergreen and Juneberry Root which I was given as a baby from my great-grandmother. I’m very proud to represent the tribes that I come from and the native people across the United States and Canada.

Four years ago I moved from North Dakota to go to college at Le Cordon Bleu for Culinary Arts in Minneapolis. I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with my Associates of Applied Science degree last year. I am not working in the Culinary Arts field at the moment because I want to work on other projects while I am still young. I have my own jewelry line that I currently sell online under Skye Jewelry. I also paint paintings, as art has always been a huge interest for me. Creating art is my passion in life. I took 3 years off from dancing for college but I’m starting to compete again now. I have also started modeling last year, which is a lot of fun for me. I am very happy that Travis asked me to be apart of this project so that I could represent the culture that I’m extremely proud to represent. I feel this project will showcase the true beauty behind Native Americans and how we are as individuals today. Thank you again Travis for the wonderful opportunity and it was great working with you.” ~Skye Hall



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