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One of my favorite Native American traditional stories is the story of how White Buffalo Woman brought the peace pipe to the Lacota people. The story has been illustrated by many over the years; however, the focus has usually been on White Buffalo Woman, herself. I chose to approach the illustration from a different angle. The story is about life and how the Sioux did not know how to live before White Buffalo Woman gave them the peace pipe. The people did not know how to hunt and live before her sacred appearance in human form, evolving into that of the four buffalo calves. The Sioux believe woman should walk behind man; however, the figure in their most important traditional legend is a woman.
In the winter of 2004, I received a diagnosis of breast cancer. "White Buffalo Woman" and her spiritual essence of life gave me the strength to carry on. The work evolved as I evolved emotionally in my understanding of how to perceive life. The top of the work represents the creationist story of the Sioux. The bottom uses representations of earth's blood: the Eagle to air, the Meadowlark to earth (the Meadowlark is also Montana's native bird, below which is a Bitterroot flower, the Montana native flower), the Blue Heron to water, and the White Buffalo Woman peace pipe represents fire. The signature has my name, the rainbow trout, my Airedale Charlie, and a hummingbird sucking the poison from within. The composition is meant to give one the feeling of a cyclical movement much as we experience in life and death. As you visually walk within "White Buffalo Woman" perhaps you too can experience a rebirth of your perception of life.
"WHITE BUFFALO WOMAN" 19X6.5" giclee print $50, signed & numbered