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Real Life Cowboys & American Indians

Like any American child, I used to play “Cowboys & Indians” with notable frequency, especially in the summer months, where backyards became my imagined western wilderness and my brothers and I could act out centuries of cultural incompatibility between the opposing sides.

Even today, childhood play (and childish television) fuel some of the same misconceptions and misrepresentations about the American West and its inhabitants. But traveling in Montana allowed me to meet plenty of real-life cowboys and authentic American Indians, who keep their respective traditions alive in their customs, dress, and food, and with celebrations like the Montana State Fair Rodeo and the Rocky Boy Pow Wow, pictured here.

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