May 23, 2007

Swiss author preserves Blackfoot culture

Adolf Hungry-Wolf’s four-part set tells story of Blackfoot Confederacy"The Blackfoot Papers" weighs 15 pounds and tells the story of the Blackfoot Confederacy in 1,500 glossy pages, including nearly 3,000 paintings and illustrations.

The price is hefty, too—$300 for the boxed, four-volume set or $1,000 for a leather-bound, limited edition volume. Volume 1 is Pikunni history and culture; II is ceremonial life; III is a Pikunni portfolio; and IV is biographies of the elders and leaders.

Members of the tribe credit Hungry-Wolf for taking the time and effort to learn and preserve their history and culture.

Darrell Norman, owner of the Lodgepole Gallery in Browning, credits Hungry-Wolf with saving Blackfeet ways that might have been lost.
This is all the more remarkable because the author isn't Native:Although Hungry-Wolf is not Indian, his wife Beverly is, and their children are enrolled members of the Blood Tribe.

Adolf Gutohrlein (his birth name) moved from his native Switzerland to southern California with his parents as a child of 9. In the 1960s, he came to Montana, where his dancing at tribal ceremonies first caught the attention of Earl Old Person, chief of the Blackfeet Nation.

"Adolf Hungry Wolf has been among our people for a long time now and has learned a lot of our ways," Old Person wrote in the introduction to the book.

"He takes part in our dances and he also performs some of our traditional ceremonies," wrote Old Person. "For him to write these books, I think it is important for him to have lived the kind of life that our people did.

No comments: