Directed by the one and only Colin Low in 1960, Circle of the Sun is a rare invitation to a gathering of the Blood Indians of Alberta. The doc features a very young (and very dapper) Pete Standing Alone, then an outsider to his own culture – a man vastly more interested in rodeos than in the “spiritual ways” of his ancestors.
In just under half an hour, the film documents both the Circle Dance of the Blood Indians (the first time it was ever captured on film), and the rowdy cowboy culture of the day, including scenes of cattle-roping, steer-decorating and saddle bronc riding.
Throughout, the photography is stunning. Whether the camera is following young kids playing around, spilling in and out of teepees, wildlife found on reserve, or the highly stylized grass dance, in which dancers young and old are adorned in beads and long white feathers – the eye is constantly mesmerized.
Although the film itself is in full colour, check out these gorgeous black-and-white photo stills from the shoot – just retrieved from our bounteous archives.
Watch Circle of the Sun on NFB.ca.