Moving Day on the Flathead - Howard Terpning
Prix de West Winner 1981
28 x 22 inches
This is one of Howard Terpning's oldest and rarest prints.
On a summer pack trip, crossing a branch of the Flathead River in search of stray mules, Howard Terpning was struck by an extraordinary pattern of shadows cast by the pines, and by the composition of an ancient alluvial slope cut away by natural erosion over ages of wind and rain.
He imagined he could see a bank of Indians on the move, riding along at the edge of the water. Wherever Howard Terpning travels throughout the west, he can see Indians in his mind's eye, for there is no part of it to which they did not belong.
It is very possible that such a scene was enacted many times. The Plains Indians were a nomadic people. As hunters rather than planters, they were obliged to follow the game, which in turn followed the rains and the grass and the changing season.
Typically, band leaders would be at the head of the procession, perhaps preceded by scouts, known in most tribes as wolves, who watched out for danger.
Under the watchful eyes of the warriors, the women carried the camp equipage on tepee-pole travois dragged behind their horses Small children would ride with their mothers in a cradleboard or perhaps firmly tied to the travois. Older children often rode their own gentle horses.
Despite the work, moving time was usually lighthearted, for each night brought fresh camping grounds, and the end of the trail was place for new beginnings.