Images and words by Micheli Oliver
Blackfeet homelands blend the prairie and the mountains together like two puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly, just as the Creator intended. From one side of the Blackfeet Reservation to the other, the dynamic landscape is captivating, full of stories, lively people, culture, history and all that we are.
The images captured here tell the story of joy, truth, history and life on our homelands. From bikes to laughter, fishing to landscape, the intention is to represent what can really only be felt. There is no time on this land, for simultaneously there is past, present and future. Therefore, these images show people moving forward in time, landscapes shaped by time and artifacts frozen in time. This is a representation of our belief that time is not linear, that we are in a circle, which reflects our ways as a culture. Everything is reciprocal, we eat the food of the land and give back to the land in any way we can. Our lives are inherently tied into the soil and sewn into the wind. As we breathe our presence strengthens the land and the land strengthens us. Even in times of hardship, oppression and cultural erasure, we look to the land to remind us of who we come from. Whispers in the wind from our ancestors whose blood is the fire and the water of the land, whose words are the whispers in the wind whistling through our thick black and brown hair. In Blackfeet we say “iksookapi,” which means roughly “be good”—to move forward in health and happiness, to do good in this life.
Showing off some tricks at a Blackfeet monument in Babb, MT.
Chase Fenner: BMX biker, archeologist and Piikuni descendant.
Ninastoki (Chief Mountain), one of the most sacred peaks to the Piikani peoples.
The tie - practicing food sovereignty roughly 4 miles from home. Two Medicine, MT.
Just like the ancestors, searching for trout and white fish. Two Medicine, MT.
The common white fish, traditional and contemporary food for the Piikani people.
Dale Fenner: Indigenous cowboy, father, and husband, standing in front of his teepee.
Orange skies after recent fires. Two Medicine, MT.
Jay Bird: Student, biker, friend and community member.
Amy: Auntie, sister, friend and teacher, wearing traditional dress.
Forever Piikani lands, also now called Glacier National Park.
Pink-tinged clouds lighting up over the plains.
Sunset on the Crown of the Continent, rich as jewels and gold.
Crown of clouds.
About Micheli Oliver
Micheli Oliver (@micsteeze) is a photographer, geographer and descendent of the Niitsítapi (Blackfeet) peoples. She runs Loud Mouth Visuals and is a visual storyteller for On The Land Media. She is based out of Shoshone, Bannock, Blackfeet, Crow, Flathead, Gros Ventre, Nez Perce and Cheyenne homelands colonized as Teton Valley.
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