Faces of Crow Fair

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Billings, Montana

What drew me to Montana was the seven aboriginal group that live in the state and the massive size of the reservation.

I came to Montana for the annual Crow Fair which is called “Teepee Capital of the World”  with nearly 1,500 teepees during the week of Crow Fair, which is the biggest event for the Apsáalooke Nation and is currently considered the largest American Indian encampment in the United States.

It was started in 1904 and now attracts over 45,000 participants and spectators from all over North America. This festival honours tradition, and it is very similar to typical community events with things to buy, a parade, races, rodeo and other events. The biggest attraction is the dance celebration, also known as the pow wow.

It was the first time I had participated in something like this, there was so much energy in the air and the traditional dress from the different tribes was so beautiful. I also learned that to the trained observer there are different types of dances at the pow wow and many specialize in one over the other during competitions.

It was incredibly hot and I really felt for some of the kids who were wearing such heavy dress.

Crow Fair Princess

crow fair parade

crow fair

crow fair parade

crow fair pow wow

Pow wow

Crow Fair kids

With so many groups attending the pow wow here you can really see the diversity in faces. But what is more interesting is that I see  facial similarities amongst indigenous populations in other areas of the world. It’s almost like puzzle pieces coming together, showing us how we are all connected.



Disclosure: I was a guest of Visit Montana but they did not request I write a favourable review of Crow Fair or drain the batteries on both my camera and my phone because I was taking so many photos. It was difficult to narrow down which photos to use for this post.



Join the Conversation

  1. Wow – what a great opportunity to see so many different tribes together along with their (beautiful) traditional dresses. I’d love to see that.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s incredible to see the diversity in their faces but also the similarity I see in other indigenous groups.

  2. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    I am constantly reminded how ignorant I am about my own country.

    Love the colorful costumes. Unique but also reminds me of what I have seen in other countries.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I feel the same way! Even the faces give a sense of familiarity with South America.

  3. The costumes are so colorful. What a unique experience. Montana continues to amaze me.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And I am only seeing a fraction of it, I have already decided I need to go back!

  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Fabulous shots! I would have drained my battery too. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So so many photos and so hard to choose which ones were best.

  5. Carmie Brogan says:

    Love all the colours and what beautiful kids they are. Interesting how you see the similiarities to indigenious people as I thought they looked a lot like the people we saw in Ecudor. Very striking features!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I thought the very same thing, it’s interesting just how small the world is.

  6. OurLifeExperiments says:

    Great pictures!!


  7. Ashley of Ashley Abroad says:

    Wow, I would love to see this in person. What a beautiful culture.

  8. What an incredible event. This sounds like something I’d absolutely love to witness. And the traditional costumes are fantastic. Really gorgeous.

  9. That is so awesome!! I love unique events like this!

    Love how you captured the colorful nature of the dress!

  10. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    Love it!

  11. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) says:

    Beautiful photos. I’ve always wanted to visit a Native American reservation, but never have (yet!). It’s such a sad part of America’s history that we would do well not to ignore.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I definitely want to see more, the short time I had at the pow wow was really wonderful.

  12. Oneika the Traveller says:

    Gorgeous shots!! All the colours and head-dresses remind me a bit of Caribana in Toronto. 🙂

  13. Oneika the Traveller says:

    Gorgeous shots!! All the colours and head-dresses remind me a bit of Caribana in Toronto.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ten years I lived in Toronto and I still haven’t been to Caribana!

  14. Agness (@Agnesstramp) says:

    It’s very interesting and so great you want to learn something more about the history and people. Many travellers are ignorant about their own home country. They keep discovering other places on the planet without exploring their own countries properly.

    I was like that a couple of years ago. Now, I’m coming back home for 2 months to travel across Poland and learn something more.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am so guilty of this, I know very little about Canada and I really need to fix that.

  15. Chrystal McKay says:

    I went to many pow wow’s on Mt. McKay just outside THunder Bay. I am lucky to have grown up next to a Native Reserve and experienced these traditions from a young age. Nothing as huge as this event was though!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I actually grew up near one too, except all I remember from my youth was that it was a cheap place to buy cigarettes. How sad.

  16. Love it! I’d love to go to a PowWow. Once we’re back in Canada it’s a big goal of ours to travel more of North America, so much to see.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The farther I got from Canada the more I realized I needed to come back and see more.

  17. Lesley Peterson says:

    Gorgeous photos! I was in Albuquerque this spring during their large powwow and several amazing groups perform at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
    Truly a remarkable place and dancers. The event in Montana looks amazing.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks for the tip, that sounds intriguing.

  18. This looks SO COOL! I would love to attend something like this!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      There are pow wows all over North America, you just have to look for them.

  19. Lauren H. of Sobremesa In Spain says:

    What beautiful people! I’m a bit embarrassed to say that as an American I never gravitated to finding out more about native populations, nor that our school systems properly introduced us to their stories and cultures. Clearly there is much to see and learn.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So much for us all to learn, kind of sad that I didn’t have any interest until I became an adult and visited indigenous communities in other countries.

  20. nomadic translator says:

    absolutely gorgeous shots, Ayngelina. I am sad to say that I haven’t explored much of the US, even though I’ve been an expat since 2005 (if you can say that about a Puerto Rican from the islands, haha).

    I would love to see the North West, but I’m scared of the cold weather 😛 I guess a summer this it would be a solution, eh?

    Like you, I don’t know much about the Native Americans. Would love to learn more about them. Maybe this should be my next trip…domestic tourism!

    – Maria Alexandra

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The weather was beautiful in the Summer, although that said I am from Canada so I am accustomed to cold weather!

  21. What stunning traditional dresses! I love your Native American blog posts…so interesting.

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