You are here: Home Museum Beat Latest Museum News Ira Provost tells the story of his life in Winter Count at Galt Museum
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

L.A. Beat

Ira Provost tells the story of his life in Winter Count at Galt Museum

E-mail Print

Piikani musician, educator and storyteller Ira Provost tells the story of his life with a new exhibit at the Galt Museum.
Piikanikoan: Living Under A  Blackfoot Sky: A Modern Winter Count opened Sept 26 and  runs until Feb. 7.Ira Provost is excited about his new exhibit Winter Count at the Galt Museum. Photo by Richard Amery
“ When people ask me  to write a book about my life, this is it,” said Provost, who embraced the Piikani tradition of the winter count, by creating his own winter count–an autobiography about his life on a buffalo robe.

“It’s a  Blackfoot concept. It’s very personal. Families, clans and tribes would record important moments in their lives, he said adding people often consider the Blackfoot culture  to be a non written  culture.
“ But it isn’t true. We’re a very visual people, you can see that in petroglyphs,” he said.

 He focused in five different  themes for his  winter count— heritage, culture, music, career and gratitude.

 There are five panels  adjacent to the winter count, explaining the meaning of specific petroglyphs.
 To emphasize each theme, song lyrics accompany each panel, including a QR codes so anyone with a smartphone can listen to the songs themselves, which are also available on his albums “Under a Blackfoot Sky” and “Evermore.”

“ It’s very fluid, so I can add to it as well,” Provost continued.

“ Music is universal. Music brings people together. Music crosses borders and diverse backgrounds. Even if people don’t get along side by side, people can appreciate a Beatles or John Lennon song,” he said.
The exhibit developed during discussions with Galt Museum Curator Dr. Aimee Benoit as they were  developing  an indigenous music festival during the summer.


“ It was all ready to go, then we had to cancel it  because of Covid, and Aimee asked if I was interested in creating an exhibit on music and indigenous culture. I said of course,” he said, adding he was going to  explore the role of contemporary  music in indigenous cultures, but it would have taken years of research.

“ So I decided to look inward instead at how music has affected my life,” he said, noting indigenous music played an important role in Delta blues and New Orleans  jazz music.

“Delta  blues formed out of indigenous people’s  traditional field songs. And there’s a lot of  call and response in pow wow music,” he observed.

“ I think I have a story to tell and hope it will encourage people to discover their own stories.  I hope they will talk to their grandparents or elderly aunts and uncles and hear their story,“ he said, adding that was a lesson he always tried to impart on his students during his years as as educator.
Piikanikoan: Living Under a Blackfoot sky : A Modern Winter Count, runs until Feb. 7 at Galt Museum.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
The ONLY Gig Guide that matters


Music Beat

Lights. Camera. Action.
Inside L.A. Inside

CD Reviews


Music Beat News

Art Beat News

Drama Beat News

Museum Beat News