Women of Vision National Geographic Photographers on Assignment
Sky Dogs, 2011
Erika LarsenErika Larsen

Sky Dogs, 2011

Larsen traveled to nearly 20 locations in search of both tribes and individuals with strong connections to the horse. In this image Destiny Buck, a Wanapum girl, and her horse are both dressed in full regalia. She performs in many rodeos, include the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West Show, an event that has taken place annually in Oregon since 1913.

In the 21st century, the horse remains important to many American Indian cultures. While no longer necessary for practical purposes of war, transportation, and hunting food, it has become an embelm for a host of values—pride, cultural heritage, skill, pageantry, and tradition. “They’re very proud of the culture of the horse, their skills with the horse, their spiritual connection with the horse, their physical connection, what it meant for them in the past, and what it means for them today,” Larsen says.

Other Photos by Erika Larsen