Here is the picture we talked about in the 11:30 class. Look at what has been written and add/edit/change in whatever way makes sense to you:

external image birdman.jpg

The man appears to be a shaman or witch doctor. Shamans are people who connect spiritually to the natural and supernatural worlds. They use herbs, divination, but more importantly, they use song, dance and chants to connect to the spirits.

The man pictured is chanting or singing, trying to connect to the spirits, probably a birds spirit, or eagle spirit. The different spirits, characterized by animals, have different powers. He is chanting to the eagle spirit for the power that the eagle represents. Eagles are usually viewed as leaders or brave warriors, so the shaman is praying for the well being for a war or battle.

The boy behind the shaman is child. He is training to become a future shaman, and must commit the tribal chants, dances and prayers to memory. The shaman is tutoring him.

Althought there is a chance of this beign a picture of a shaman, there is also doubt that it could be. You don't see many Shaman today like seen in this picture. It appears to look like a Native American Indian of some type. I agree that it is some type of ritual being preformed, but many religions and people around the world have different rituals. The man is trying to get in touch with his lost culture perhaps that as drifted away from his people over the many years. He still keeps the tradition and is chanting into the wind coming towards him dressed as a eagle. This Native American Indian is teaching the younger boy/girl behind him the old ways of their culture.

In this picture, the man is dressed kind of like a bird to perform this ritual. I think that he chose to use a bird to emulate because birds fly and see things clearly from above. They can soar in the clear skies giving them freedom that nothing else has, and they can see all that goes on from a perspective that no one else has. This could be a picture of the man trying to worship birds, or maybe he's asking the birds for some enlightenment on a certain problem that he might have.

We know for sure that there are two Native Americans standing on an open plain. They are both dressed in Native-American clothing. They have feathers and fact paint on. One of them is holding up the wing of an eagle with his left hand. We can't see for sure if he also has a wing in his right hand, but we can assume that would be the case. We do not know what he is really doing, but I think he is imagining himself to be an eagle flying in the sky. I can infer this because he is in the motion of flapping his wings. They also look very serene and at peace. The boy and the man are both closing their eyes imagining what it would be like to be an eagle. This still raises the question: Why a bird? The man may just be trying to teach the boy something or maybe he might just be tuning in with nature. Whatever is happening here, imagining being like an eagle is a big part to it. It's safe to say that there is a deeper meaning in this picture that many people interpret differently.

The Indians consider the eagle the connecting link between Heaven and Earth. This man is performing a dance similar to the Eagle Dance of Tesuque. The Eagle Dance of Tesuque is performed with two dancers instead of one and is performed to become closer to Heaven. The man and boy in this picture are more than likely doing a dance that has the same purpose as the Eagle Dance of Tesuque.

After reading everyone's comments, I can see where everyone's views are from. In my opinion, like the person before me, the two Native Americans are chanting. The man with the outstretched wing could be performing a religious dance where he prays. Like anyone who prays or chants, the two people in the picture seek help or enlightenment. Religion provides an answer to people who seek it. What these two Native Americans are doing what many people in this world today do. They are searching for spiritual enlightenment.