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While photographing the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade while working for the Los Angeles Times I had no idea that one of the equestrian groups I photographed included a rider that would become a close friend and mentor. William Kimmey, aka Standing Bear,  was riding with Gene Autry’s Spirit Riders of the West, something he did from 1980 until a heart attack in in 1995. Standing Bear was born on March 19, 1926, in the coal-mining town of Time, Pennsylvania.  His mother was Delaware, his father Iroquois.  He appeared in his first wild-west show in 1934 and later became a motion picture consultant. He lectured and demonstrated Native American customs and crafts before schools and groups. Our visits often moved from Native American spirituality to moments of humor. This picture is photo I illustration based on discussions of his riding with the Spirit Riders and the man’s relationship with all living things —“We are all related (Mitakuye Oyasin)”. He was one of the founders and first spiritual leader of the Hart of the West Powwow in the mid 1990’s.  On my wall at home is my poster of him with the prayer he would recite at the beginning of each powwow. The synchronicity link between us goes back to a picture I took of a teepee at the edge of a lake.  It was under-exposed and the last picture I had taken that day.  Sometime later I visited Standing Bear at his leather shop in the San Fernando Valley to have leatherwork repaired.  During the visit,  I shared the picture. I remember the moment of surprise when he said it was his teepee. Standing Bear passed on June 11, 2006.

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