Setting my sights on freelance photography…Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Graphic Design Ben J. Shockley. Image © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2008.
“See you around,” there is no word for goodby in the Ute language. After five years, on staff at The Southern Ute Drum newspaper I take my leave in a good way. The Southern Ute Indian Tribe, as a community, showers me with kind words, words of encouragement, and a host of wonderful gifts – symbolic of this beautiful culture and it’s people! The tribe wraps me in a Pendleton blanket, I am honored, above all I am humbled… Today I set out on my own path as a freelance photographer, moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Rachel and I begin a new chapter in our life together. We set our sights on the adventures ahead. Tog’oiak’ ~ Thank you!

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The Southern Ute Drum Newspaper: Interactive website debut!

Photographs Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum. All Rights Reserved.

Visit the Southern Ute Drum’s new website at SUDRUM.com

2012: The Year in Review.

Photo Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum

2012 marked my four-year milestone as staff photographer for The Southern Ute Drum newspaper. The publication has made some significant gains in the years that I have toiled under my own deadlines and feature stories here in the newsroom.

As a team we have expanded our page count with each passing year, undergone a series of significant redesigns, and are now printing in full color!

The Southern Ute Drum has garnered numerous journalism awards from The Society of Professional Journalist and The Native American Journalism Association.

Photography coverage and journalism conferences have landed me in Portland, OR, Sacramento, CA, Las Vegas, NV, and Washington DC in recent months.

In the weeks to come we will revamp our online presence with the hope of reaching an even broader audience across Indian Country, while polishing each aspect of our print publication to meet the challenges of the digital age.

The importance communication through media between Sovereign Nations and the United States of America has perhaps never been more relevant then it is now, as Native peoples continue to uphold cultural, and political values in the 21st century.

Please take a moment to visit our final issue of 2012 and the highlights of the year online! Click HERE.

Often the most difficult images to capture are the ones we see everyday…

Photographs Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum

I pulled off of the winding county road that leads north as the last rays of light seemed to be holding on to the color of the thin ice sheathing the surface of Vallecito reservoir.

Every spring the ice breaks up, melts away, and disappears without much resistance. Every year looks and feels different, separate in its own way. This year I was perhaps more attuned to the change, in a record setting spring where warmer temperatures have prematurely melted the winter away.

The quality of the blue cast that indicates the ice sheet is on the brink of disappearance…that is what caught my eye. The light, and the breeze all added to the sensory experience. An iPhone shot and a couple of frames on the Nikon yielded some nice results. For me, they are moments that I might not have otherwise experienced on my daily commute.

These are the frames we have to make for ourselves, perhaps even stepping back a little in order to document our immediate surroundings…

Spring Celebration – 48th Annual Hozhoni Days Powwow returns to Durango, Colorado.

Photographs Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum

I shot my first powwow at Fort Lewis College over five years ago, immediately gaining an invitation to make pictures later that year in the picturesque Red Rocks Park during the Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonial. My goal was to document cultures in the region where I grew up having returned to the area as a working professional, seeking out long term projects, assignments.

It was the portfolio from that summer that opened the door to my current position as staff photographer for the Southern Ute Drum newspaper.

We just published a double powwow section last week that included recent images from Hozhoni Days, as I have been back to cover this small, social powwow every year since that first. Striving each time to come away with something that will set my work apart from previous years…

Enjoy the Images! Best, Jeremy

Photographs Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum

Traditions live on in Buffalo Harvest.

Photograph Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum

By Jeremy Wade Shockley

The Southern Ute Drum

A young bison was blessed and harvested under the traditional guidance of the Fort Lewis Buffalo Council on Saturday, March 17, as part of an annual three-day ceremony.

The spirit of the harvest is to promote food sovereignty and education under the guidance of the Buffalo Council and participating tribal elders.

“It really strengthens us as students,” said Amoretta Pringle, president of the Buffalo Council.

The three-day ceremony included a sweat lodge, prayer, bison harvest, and distribution of medicine, finishing in Durango on Sunday with a presentation by longtime Native American activist Russell Means, who voiced the importance of truth and sovereignty to his audience.

This year’s ceremony coincides with the 100th year anniversary of Fort Lewis College, according to organizers.

In recent years, the Buffalo Harvest has taken place at the site of the historic Fort Lewis Indian School near Hesperus, Colo. This year, the event moved to a neighboring ranch house owned and operated by Bill and Virginia Crangle. The Crangles have made Hesperus their home since 1974, and have hosted the Buffalo Council on numerous occasions, giving them a place to perform the ceremonies.

Manuelito “Chief” Garbiso is one of the more recent members to the council and a Fort Lewis alumnus.

“Basically everything goes back to the community,” he said, explaining that the meat will be parceled out to families who qualify, and whatever remains will be used for fundraising events, cooking the bison meat to benefit the community.

The young bison was trucked in from Oklahoma. Raised on a ranch, he was culled from a herd numbering in the hundreds. Michael Mithlo, owner of the company Mighty Good Bison, has delivered a buffalo to the council for the traditional harvest on numerous occasions.

Mithlo, a pragmatic and knowledgeable man with a clear understanding of the butchering process, is of the Comanche and Chiricahue Apache nations. He said it’s good to keep a few bulls in together and let them fight, because it helps build testosterone. He also noted that thick meat on the ribs is a sign of a healthy animal with strong genes.

Nathan Strong Elk was one of a handful of Southern Utes who attended the annual harvest, offering a blessing over the animal once it arrived. Strong Elk emphasized the importance of calming the animal to prepare it for harvest after such a long journey.

The sound of drums could be heard around the early morning campfires, mingling with the smell of burning cedar in the air and the singing of the young participants who would soon harvest the buffalo.

A pair of gunshots broke the still morning silence. Members of the Buffalo Council and their helpers began to cut and clean the great bison, heaving his mass onto tarps.

While the men used knives and tools to section the meat, women worked in teams to separate the vital organs and entrails, each with its own place and purpose, its own destination. Practical efficiency was evident in the collaborative process.

Neighboring dogs became less shy, stealing away with the occasional discard. The winter sun began to warm the ground as expert hands worked in traditional ways.

Preparing to Powwow.

Photograph Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum

One month from today, I will be covering the first large powwow of the season in Denver, Colorado. The Denver March Powwow is Colorado’s largest gathering of nations, drawing members from all three Ute tribes.
The Southern Ute Drum has faithfully covered this event for years and will certainly showcase the celebration once again! Stay tuned…