Bill Yellowtail for Montana, 1996: Poster print of original Earl Biss painting

Artist Earl Biss (1947 – 1998)
Nation Apsáalooke (Crow)
MaterialOriginal: oil paint on canvas
Gifted by Bill Yellowtail and Maggie Carlson

Bill Yellowtail is a retired Apsáalooke (Crow) politician who in 1996 sought to become the first Native American congressman from Montana, running for Montana’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat.

Yellowtail speaking on why parading is politically important: “Politics and campaigning is about being visible and making oneself attractive to people. […] And so around here, politicians join the parade. It’s a matter of two things really. One is to gain visibility of course, but the other is an acceptance or a demonstration of one’s appreciation of the culture. One would submit oneself readily to the culture.

“And Crows of course, broadly speaking, have always valued parading. […] Parading is a big thing here. Now, people parade on horseback here. When you see a politician parading - walking afoot - you know that they’re an outsider! So, we parade on horseback.

“One of my favourite campaign photos, was […] never used in a campaign, but I favoured it – it was me on old Amigo! [a favourite horse of Bill’s] - in my cowboy regalia an’ all. But that’s, you know, how I identified myself, how I wanted to project my identity, in campaigning. And frankly, how one is favourably viewed, as a politician, here in Montana.”