Digital Photography: Truth, Justice, And the American Way

Today, I got to experience one of the rare events you get to see in life, the 2011 Gathering of Nations help at the UNM Pit in Albuquerque. The gathering is one of those occasions where you may capture the regality and pride of the Native American people in a photograph. As most of their dance garb is traditional and ceremonial, photography at the tribal dances and in the pueblos can be very rare. The gathering is a celebration of tribal customs and traditions in a more relaxed, festive and social atmosphere. Native for “letting it all hang out”, so to speak. Tribal representatives come from all over the country to celebrate their heritage and pride. I spoke to one Native lady from Cherokee, North Carolina, quite a coincidence seeing as I have lived a few years in East Tennessee, (that’s just across the border, or state line, if you like). About 1700 miles or 2700 kilometers for a pretty big event. Ceremonial garb, a Native beauty contest…, honoring the Native warriors still serving in the Armed Forces, it’s a pretty big deal, and truly impressive to see.

In other news, maybe you were part of the throng witnessing the fairy tale wedding celebrated by our cousins across the pond…, another magical event. Others of us were fascinated of the news release concerning Superman renouncing his American citizenship. Yes, you heard it right, Superman struggling with his American identity after criticism from his recent stand of solidarity with the protestors in Tehran. Sorry, Kal-El, sometimes doing good deeds, or doing anything at all will open you up to criticism, Monday morning quarterbacking, and even outright hostility. Figured the man of steel would have that figured out, he’s only been here since 1938, right?

Just in case you’ve forgotten, we’ve still got your back big guy. Here are the Cliff Notes.

Truth: Never something you look for from politicians seeking reelection, or those willing to manipulate you for your special talents.

Justice: A tough one. My own disillusionment with the American justice system came in the aftermath of the brutal murder of James Byrd, Jr. in Texas in the mid-90s. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, a little trip to Wikipedia should clear things up for you. I was taking a Law and Society class with a liberal defense attorney for an instructor, (yes, I know… liberal defense attorney, it’s an oxymoron, but bear with me please…). Even for someone with liberal political tendencies, he was still a pretty good guy, and an even better instructor. We were having an open debate on the validity of Hate Crime legislation. Should one group of citizens be placed in a special category, because of their race, creed, color, religious or sexual preference? To the best of my limited knowledge, Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason. Crime is crime, and punishment should be meted out according to the crime, not because of any status of the victim. What those two redneck idiots did on that Texas road was nothing short of monstrous and was not a crime against African-Americans… It was a crime against humanity. In other words, it was a crime against the human race… It was barbaric. So, people tend to jump on the emotional flood of the moment, and decide that if it can be proven it was a “Hate” crime, (have you ever heard of a criminal comitting a crime because of love? Okay, John Hinkley Jr. doesn’t count.). We can add additional time to the crime. Well, that’s a pretty novel concept. Maybe next time we can see how much money the victim’s family has and use that for determining what kind of restitution to society the offender should pay. So, if you’re wondering how I feel on that particular item, you needn’t wonder any more.

The American Way: Yeah, we know it’s not perfect, but it’s what we got. We do what we can with what we have and hope we’re doing the right thing.

The Navajo have the legend of the skinwalker, a monster who conceals its true nature behind a human mask. Well, Superman.., you taught us that heroes can also conceal their true identities behind a human mask as well. In case you need reminding, all the criticism in the world don’t amount to anything compared to the gleam of appreciation in someone’s eye who is truly grateful for anything you might have done to help, in any way you can. Those heroes, they’re identities aren’t really all that secret. We call them soldier, policeman (or woman), firefighter, Mom, Dad, grandma, grandpa and neighbor…

So, when you find your way through the current disillusionment, we’ll be right here, standing up for what we believe in. It’s the least we can do, and it’s what you taught us.

Until then, if the naysayers have got you down, Congratulations Clark, you’re more human than we thought…

Enjoy the pictures…




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  1. interesting thoughts Dewayne, It must be an amazing thing to see all of the Native Americans in action dancing.
    Scott Sylvan Bell
    Reduce sales rejection
    Now go implement!

  2. I had an opportunity to attend a native american gathering a few years in New Mexico by far one of my most interesting couple of days ever.

  3. Ah Lady Justice wearing the blindfold depicting objectivity and justice being handed out, unbiased, without fear or favor. Like you said about the American way … no, it’s not perfect, but we do the best with what we’ve got!

    Best, Neil

  4. Learning about and participating in the traditions of other people is the first step towards understanding.
    Sonya Lenzo

  5. Clare Delaney

    The gathering sounds like a great event!

    For Everything Eco-Friendly

  6. Hi Dewayne,

    Wow, what an amazing experience to get to be there for the gathering of the Nations and enjoying it as an informal socializing experience.

    As for the controversial topic. I think that is what the layer of HATE is about. There are the crimes that are personal and then the additional layer essentially is recognizing it as a crime against humanity. I don’t see it as a preferential standing. Then again all rapes are hate crimes. There are 2 layers to it always. Well, actually, 3. Often there is an additional layer meant to additionally hurt the man who is in any kind of protector relationship role with the (typically although men can be raped as well) woman who was raped. I could go on. But that would be a whole article and book report!

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Professional Dating Profile Writing Service

  7. I really enjoyed your post – what an awesome event you were able to witness. You also made some very poignant points on truth, justice and the American way.

    Steve C

  8. I’m part of The Chickasaw Nation and also have a touch of Choctaw in the veins. The Native American “history” is rarely told and if it was ever truly integrated into the educational process I suspect there’d be fewer meetings of the nations and a more United America. Americans have no idea what happened to the original landowners here. People would be shocked….I digress….

    Your comments are insightful, wise, and well considered. I love your pictures. Hope you are controversial more often….

  9. Rachel Robinson

    You provided some great takeaways with this post! Not only are the pictures a wonderful reminder of the many cultures we should embrace, the cliffs notes give us some insightful things to consider.
    Leadership Is A Choice

  10. Kevin Bettencourt

    Looks like an Awesome event. I’ve visited the Cherokee and Navajo nations and I always feel more spiritual afterword.

    Las Vegas Air Conditioning Repair

  11. Thought the post was fracking well done . Beaut pictures , thoughtfull words on the justice system .

  12. It is very cool to see all of the Native americans in one spot…you don’t see that anymore..

    Sales Expert

  13. What an incredible experience and I envy you for being there.
    Jen B