The Buffalo that could not Dream



The Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes inhabit 2,626,415 square kilometres of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana, USA. Forced into the reservation in 1851 these historic enemies face the compromise of living together as the only solution to maintain their rich culture and history.

German photographer Felix von der Osten’s (1989) portraits of the tribes capture the beautiful nobility and tradition of Native American culture, a lifestyle that remains unknown to many. The selection of carefully composed still lifes, portraits and landscapes build up an insight into the tribal culture with the attentive depictions allowing for the reflection upon the similarities between this community and modern ways of life, as well as the differences. Von der Osten’s subtle aesthetic choices direct emphasis to the reality of poverty and lack of opportunity pushing this community further into oppression, in sharp contrast with the empowering heritage and culture that they fight to keep alive.