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Powwow Paperback – September 1, 1996

10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It is hard to imagine how this book could be more beautiful. Its scores of photographs, most of them full-page, show Native Americans of dozens of nations in full dance regalia, and they are breathtaking. It is not just the vibrant colors and resplendent patterns of the costumes but also, more important, the strength of spirit revealed in the dancers' faces that draw our eyes into these photographs. Indeed, comments from each dancer on the tribal and individual significances of costumes and dances illuminate, often poignantly, but they do not say more than the faces. Filled with pride and fervor, the dancers look out at us. Here is Ojibwa Norman Kelly-Kinew, his yellow-painted face streaked with blue, his eyes wise and sad beneath a hat of beads and fur. Here is Nooksac-Nez Perce Reginald A. George in a feather mask and leather hat, his white face paint emphasizing the determination in his jaw. And Nellie Two Bulls of the Oglala Sioux: she half turns from us, her half-smile knowing and confident. Such are the faces of the powwow, and the spirits behind them. Patricia Monaghan

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Ex - Lib edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810926806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810926806
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,718,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 1997
Format: Paperback
A review should on some occasions cut to the chase. Buy this unique and

beautiful book for your school library (any age), yourself, gifts. You can see

some photos and some of what the dancers said on [...] Ben Marra's powwow web

page. With his permission, I chose a few pix of young people and what they

said for my Fancy Powwow Outfits page at [...] part of my beads and beadwork section .

These give a good idea of the wonderful contents, so here I'll say a few

other things. First, a book of portraits of people in full powwow

regalia: close up, clear, relaxed, and talking (or a grandma speaks for a little

one) about the meanings of it and their personal involvements in their own culture is unusual, unique. We've all

probably got little collections of photos we took ourselves of Uncle leading the

Grand entry, Sister in her jingledress, etc. Nobody has any like this, though. There's no comparison to books of "taken at powwows photos" put out by other publishers.

These are the work of a lifelong pro photographer, who -- together with his

wife -- was able to put people at ease and capture character and meanings

that work with what the people say to create an integrated work of art -- this

book -- that is accessible to anyone from little children to busy city folk, who

don't really know what a powwow is.

Linda Marra told me almost all the portraits were taken within a 5-

minute set-up period, in improvised 'studios,' set up somewhere

close enough to the dance arenas for the dancers to move on, but a little out

of the way.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Richardson on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this visually stunning book for anyone with any interest at all in Native American pow wow culture. The color photographic portraits are riveting and the commentary from the dancers themselves is compelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pamela on July 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
The photos in this book are absolutely marvelous. If you are interested in making your own regalia, this will help you get ideas for the finer details. Most of the colorful "outfits" use contemporary as opposed to traditional materials, and with great ingenuity.
I believe that the photographers (a husband and wife team) had a terrific eye for what makes beautiful regalia. The photos are expert and visually enjoyable. Contrary to a previous reviewer, I think the plain backdrop works well. Yes, the book is limited in scope to static (non-dancing) poses, i.e. still portraits.
And nearly every photo is accompanied by an inspirational paragraph transcribed from the words of the Native American pictured. Good reading!
My only objection to this book is that since it was photographed at powwows in the northwestern U.S., it is mainly limited to representatives of tribes in that area. Otherwise, an excellent book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gorgeous portraits of fancy dancers in their regalia, with an emphasis on 'authentic' expressions of such. Rather than overdyed feathers and plastic beads, these dancers' regalia relies mostly on natural materials and historically palatable color combinations.

If you've every seen the energy of the grass dance or butterfly dance, and watched the dancer fly past, unable to study their regalia up close...now is your chance.

Each portrait is accompanied by small amount of text describing how the subject got into dance or what it means to them: I would have liked more of this.

Marra captures intimate yet self-contained expressions in his subjects that affirm their self-expression in familial, native traditions of competitive dance.
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By James L. Ruether on June 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wasn't impressed with the illustrations in this book. The cover photo is wonderful but the illustrations inside the book are done with colored pencil and are few and far between.

I gave the book away after I looked through it and wasn't impressed. I felt it had been misrepresented as a pictorial essay on Pow Wow Costumes from the cover photo which is excellent.
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