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    Description

    INTERMISSION DURING THE GRASS DANCE, WOLF POINT AGENCY, MONTANA

    This is the single card in the series which lacks the S.W. Ormsby imprint; but it is clear from the content as well as the identical-size mount that this is also his work. This is the only known photograph of the original Agency buildings erected in the 1870s. A Grass Dance celebration is in progress. The men seated on the ground at left are the orchestra, surrounding a bass drum. Between songs, an announcement is being made by the figure standing at center. He was in motion, and Ormsby's emulsion was not "fast" enough to stop the action. Thirty men dressed for hard dancing in the hot sun stand against the buildings. White spectators, perhaps including the Agent, stand in the open doorway. Two Indian spectators are seated at lower right. The Grass Dance was not merely an entertainment, but a ceremonial organization with appointed officers and "intellectual property" in the form of songs and specific regalia. Originated far to the east among the Ponca and Omaha late in the 18th century, the right to use the songs and replicate the regalia was passed from tribe to tribe, precisely like a business franchise, and with similar profit motive. In 1893, nearly at the time of these photos, the Assiniboin had been invited to travel to the Blood (Blackfeet) reservation in southern Alberta, where they franchised the Grass Dance to the Blood in exchange for about fifty fine horses, and a mountain of other property. See photographs of this exchange in the Glenbow Archives, Neg. Nos. NA-668-63 thru 66.

    Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2007
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,266

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