The Mission photograph was made at the end of a long winter day with winds gusting at 35 to 40 miles per hour. It was a clear day and the late winter sun was nearly at 90 degrees to the camera when I finally got my car to block the wind and then slung a 15 pound bag of lead shot onto the neck of my tripod to keep it from blowing away

Catholic Mission, Belknap Indian Reservation, Montana, 2006

  The direction of the light made shadows that were sharp and perpendicular; it almost seemed that another Mission was being built in the shadows. The directional light was so strong and penetrating that I imagined that some of the light passed straight through the church and escaped north into Canada.

   The Belknap Reservation is 40 miles from the Canadian border and was founded in 1935. The 5,000 Indians who reside on the reservation call themselves “AH-AH-NE-NIN,” meaning the White Clay People, and were part of the Blackfeet Nation. They believed that they were made from the White Clay that is found along the river bottoms in Gros Ventre (French for big belly) country. The reservation encompasses 675,147 acres and is mostly rolling plains. The main industry is agriculture, consisting of some small cattle ranches and raising alfalfa hay for feed and larger dry land farms.

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