George, Scott and Eagle Boy make up a team that competes in the Suicide Race, a notorious event held each August in Omak, Washington. The town is sliced in half by the Okanogan River; one side is on the Colville Reservation, the other side isn’t. The Suicide Race is a conglomeration of these two realities of the West- an event deeply rooted in tribal tradition, and now deeply connected to a modern commercial rodeo.
Before the Grand Coulee Dam flooded the site of the original event, which the Suicide Race is based upon, and blocked the passage of the salmon, which the race celebrated, the Columbia River played an especially critical role in the lives of the Colville people. The people, the river, and the race all still exist, but in different forms. Tradition is a measure of not just how things stay the same, but how they change.
Made in collaboration with Ruth Eddy in 2017-18.