Native Village  Youth and Education news
February 2010 Volume 4

Artist finally locates Native performer from 1991 powwow featured in portrait
Condensed by Native Village

Greg Millar, Bryan Brazill, Patrick Clark

Montana: For three years, artist Greg Millar searched for the Native American dancer in a photograph taken by his friend, Patrick Clark, at 1991's Fort Missoula Powwow.  Millar created a tile portrait from that photograph and vowed that if it ever sold, he would find the dancer and donate half of the profits to a charity of the dancer's choice.

Millar searched across the state and elsewhere looking for anyone  who could offer leads on the dancer's identity.

Little did he know, the answer was right under his nose. After a story ran on the Internet, a phone call from Germany finally connect Millar with Arlee resident Bryan Brazill. 

"I'm just so thrilled, and amazed that after all this time I finally was able to figure out who he was," said Millar.

Brazill, who is serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, read the story on the Missoulian's Web site. At first, Brazill thought the dancer was his brother, Ryan, an Army drill instructor at Fort Sill, Okla.

Turns out he was wrong. The dancer was Bruce's father, Bryan, who immediately recognized himself in the tile portrait.

"He captured the essence of me," Bryan said. "You know, the way you walk into a room is different from how I walk, and he captured the essence of my movement. That's what I noticed right away, even more so than the feather hat or the bustle, just the gesture of my movement itself."

Brazill has spent most of his life dancing at powwows around the region. Brazill said that the photograph was taken during a men's traditional special dance at the Fort Missoula Powwow.

After meeting with Millar, Brazill spoke with his family and decided to donate his proceeds from sale -- nearly $3,000 -- to the Veterans Warrior Society of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

"They're important in our culture because they help out with leading grand entries at powwows," said Brazill, "but more important, they help out with the wakes and funerals and represent our tribes across the United States."

"I think the money will go a long way," added Brazill. "And since this (portrait) involves dance and Native American culture, I thought that was an important point to it as well."


Part 1: Artist Seeks Powwow Dancer Who Inspired Mural
Part 2: Artist Finally Locates Native Performer from 1991 Powwow Featured in Portrait
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