Markku’s Pop Up Portrait Studio Celebrates Indigenous People in America

National Native American Heritage Month November 2021

Every year on November 1, Native American Heritage Month is celebrated to honor the remarkable Native Americans who have contributed a lot to improve the character of the nation. This month is also referred to as the American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. November is the time to rejoice in diverse and rich cultures, histories, and traditions and to appreciate the great contributions of the Native Americans.

Last month, Markku was able to attend Thunder and Lightning Pow Wow in his neighborhood of Morongo in Palm Springs, CA. A Pow Wow is a specific type of event for Tribal American people to meet and dance, sing, socialize, and honor their cultures. .Markku set out to document this very special event,  but the light was not good at all, with direct sun and no clouds in sight. Necessity knows no law, he says. After spotting a mobile ATM tent with three white walls and a ceiling, Markku decided this would serve as his pop up studio. No one seemed to mind, he says, the people being photographed nor the people visiting the teller.

Powwow regalia is a powerful mode of self-expression that blends historical and modern dress. Worn with responsibility and pride, the clothing represents community traditions and personal tastes.


Hundreds of competitive dancers and drummers in hand-crafted regalia from across US and Canada, from elders to young children attend, celebrating music, dance, cuisine and crafts and their culture.


Colorful and intricate outfits of the men and women. Collection of items that reflect their lives, interests, and family background. Many wear garments that are family heirlooms or gifts crafted by family members.



The ladies dresses are made with hundreds of small rolled tin cones, originally made from Copenhagen tobacco tin lids, sewn into rows on the dresses. They make a beautiful soft “swishing” noise as the ladies move and dance.


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