Comanche Mother, acrylic on canvas by Eric Tippeconnic

A fancy dance shawl depicts horse regalia, a metaphor for the life of the Comanche people

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A Comanche woman gracefully performs a fancy shawl dance, one of the most popular dances at a pow-wow.

Pow-wows are intertribal social dances that are not exclusive to any one tribe. Any Indigenous person is free to participate in a gender-based category of their choice, with prize money going to the best individuals in each dance category. The fancy shawl dance requires agility, poise, and stamina. Dancers combine light, fast-paced footwork with jumps and spins and wear a colorful fringed shawl with intricate beaded or silk applique designs. The blend of graceful movements and colorful regalia is said to mimic a butterfly floating over the arena.

Comanche Mother depicts a fancy shawl dancer moving forward with horse imagery on her regalia, a metaphor for the life of Comanche people. The yellow and blue scarf at her neck features a snake indicating the Snake River, the place of origin for Comanche people. The horse imagery on the gray shawl is reflective of a time when the horse permeated all aspects of Comanche society. The blue, yellow, and red are the colors found on the Comanche seal and flag, the vibrancy of these colors a metaphor for a living people belonging to a thriving culture in the 21st century.

Comanche women protectively carry the future of our nation in their wombs. Without them our people could not persevere, move forward, or thrive in a constantly changing world. Comanche women provide the stability and guidance that allow our nation to move bravely into the future as this painting depicts. Eric Tippeconnic, Artist

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