Stoney Nakoda VI, Calgary Stampede (Calgary, Alberta 2014) (Richard Phibbs / powerHouse Books)
Native Dress Calgary Stampede(2010) (Richard Phibbs / powerHouse Books)
Cowboy “203” Calgary Stampede; (Calgary, Alberta, 2014) (Richard Phibbs / powerHouse Books)

Scenes From the Calgary Stampede

Noted photographer Richard Phibbs has a new book that sends him back home on the range

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The Nakoda once lived across Western Canada and into Montana, but in the familiar tragedy that played out across the Americas, their territory has long since been reduced, to small reservations in Alberta. Glimpses of their heritage can be seen today at the Calgary Stampede, a century-old rodeo that draws a million people to the city every July. That’s where the photographer Richard Phibbs met this unnamed Nakoda man, whose portrait appears alongside images of big sky and cowboys in Phibbs’ new book, The West. Phibbs, who lives in New York City, grew up in Calgary, working his first paid job sweeping floors at the Stampede, and he now views westerners in the light of history that left scars as well as legends. “As a child, the only homeless people I ever saw were aboriginal people,” he says. “As an adult, you begin to learn why.” He aims to restore the “honor and dignity they deserve.”

About Amy Crawford
Amy Crawford

Amy Crawford is a Michigan-based freelance journalist writing about cities, science, the environment, art and education. A longtime Smithsonian contributor, her work also appears in CityLab and the Boston Globe.

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