The Sentinel is the largest, most elaborately costumed character in the procession. Each teaching is dramatized by one of these large-scale totemic figures. Dancer, accessibility consultant, and disability activist Wanda FitzGerald plays the Sentinel Respect. Respect symbolizes the Buffalo; the costume a graphic abstraction of this animal’s horns and is a symbol of survival.
Here are a selection of Marlon Griffith’s initial sketches, artistic renderings, technical drawings, and images of the process of making Respect. These images comprise a process extending almost two years. While the forms are intended to give shape and spirit to each of the teachings, each are also closely tied to the individual who plays each Sentinel and are custom designed to fit that particular person. Wanda’s fitted “backpack” forms around her body, and acts as a base for 35 gilded wooden arrows stuck in the Sentinel’s back. The costume is comprised of an elaborately decorated blue mask adorned with Griffith’s characteristic floral pattern, red pants with feathers, dangling cords, beads, and Plexi-glass forms that look like chevrons: a simple but powerful form that points and guides and protects. As forms that are also reminiscent of Buffalo horns, these shapes also threaten. While all of the processional players in each teaching are individuals yet are connected through name, myth, symbol, or pattern.