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Culture through Clothing

The goal of this exhibit is to look at various types of clothing from different tribes. In this exhibit, you will see clothes ranging from basic shirts to clothing used for religious activities. My goal was to organize the objects in a way that was cyclical, by starting with a traditional headdress used for adornment or ceremonial purposes and ending with a hat that is also used for adornment or ceremonial purposes. Two different things being used in similar ways. Moreover, the recurring theme, is practical attire with cultural pride right in the fabric.

A Buffalo Bill Center of the West Virtual Exhibit
Curated by: Aaron D.

feather | bonnet | ribbon | ...
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Exhibit notes: A headdress made of different feathers, yarn, and beads, this bonnet was typically used as an adornment and as a symbol of status.

Museum record: NA.205.93 | L: 22 in, width: 13 in | Dress and Adornment, Status Symbols and Insignia of Office. Eagle (?) feather bonnet with white horsehair streamers. Red, blue yarn, multi colored bead rounds in front. Beaded head band in blue, red, white, green, yellow step design in lazy stitch greasy size 11 seed beads. Some green and red feathers, owl feathers, pheasant tail feathers and blue curtain tassles on decorative strips. Each eagle (?) feather wrapped in red wool at base attached to felt inner hat. Ribbons on outside in red and green with long red, magenta and blue yarn hanging down. | na.205.93v1.jpg | na.205.93v2.jpg | feather | bonnet | ribbon | leather | wool | Beads | feathers | yarn | thread

Great Lakes | beaded cylinde...
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Exhibit notes: A bracelet formed on a loom, this would be worn for rituals or on a daily basis.

Museum record: NA.506.13 | H: 2 in, width: 2.125 in | Ritual and Recreation: Gifts and Novelties. Bark cylinder; loom beaded on outside with abstract floral design in yellow, pink, green, blue and gold on turquoise ground. | NA.506.13.JPG | na.506.13.jpg | abstract floral | beaded cylinder | beaded | bark | pink | Beads | gold | green | loom | yellow | Cylinder | seed | blue | turquoise | Great Lakes

Oklahoma | Southern Arapaho ...
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Exhibit notes: A gift from J. C. "Kid Nichols" this Ghost Dance dress with intricate designs gives us an example of how the clothes were just as much a part of the ceremony as the dances themselves.

Museum record: NA.204.1 | ca. 1890 | width at shoulders: 33 in | Gift of J.C. "Kid" Nichols | Dress and Adornment - Religious Attire. Ghost dance dress - white buckskin dress, sinew sewn, rectangular strips pieced into shoulders, yoke/sleeves sewn to skirt, triangular extensions sewn at lower side seams to give skirt more flare; self fringe at side seams, added fringe at sleeve ends, self and added fringe at hem. Upper 3/4 of dress is painted blue with blue outlined natural buckskin stars in rows, painted green band separate blue upper dress from bottom 1/4 which is painted yellow-groups of 4 line and circle designs extend into yellow from green band, bottom edge has a red line with triangles pointing up, outlined with blue, triangular extensions have 2 rows of blue dots and 1 row of red dots at bottom. Yoke has laced-in fringe across front and back, fringes are trimmed with mescal seeds, ermine tails and feet, dyed red breath feathers and satin ribbons in fushia, blue, golden yellow on back, red, blue, faded light blue and faded pink on front, front also has an advertising mirror from Herbert Spencer cigars and a sinew wrapped lock of black hair. Four sleeve fringes on each sleeve are trimmed with 3 brass beads, right side fringes have 12 hawk bells, left side fringes have 9 hawk bells tied into them. | NA.204.1.jpg | NA.204.1.JPG | circle | triangles | dots | line | stars | Ghost Dance dress | brass beads | pigments | human hair | mirror | ermine | dyed feathers | silk ribbon | sinew | mescal seeds | brass bells | tanned deer hide | Oklahoma | Southern Arapaho

Hinono'ei | Oklahoma | Arapa...
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Exhibit notes: Another Gift, this one from the Searle Family Trust and the Paul Stock Foundation this artifact is for the Ghost dance also. Showing that different adornments are used for the same ceremony.

Museum record: NA.204.5 | ca.1890 | L: 40 in, width: 29 in | Chandler-Pohrt Collection, Gift of The Searle Family Trust and The Paul Stock Foundation | Dress and Adornment, Religious Attire. Hand-tanned elk hide, fringed on neck flaps, shoulder area, wrist area, bottom edge of shirt, down sides of shirt, and down back of arms. Painted in red, light blue, dark blue and green pigments. White stars with red line surrounding them, dark blue birds, dark blue and white magpies, white turtle with red blocks on its back, background of shirt is light blue. Fringes on shirt are all painted green. Red human figures on front and rear. Neck flaps have plants and pipes, figure's chest has crescent shape and feather on top of head. Group of dark feathers hang from fringes of neck flap. | Field Guide: Fandex: Family Field Guide: American Indians, Workman Publishing, New York, ISBN: 0 7611 2583 3 | na.204.5 v1.jpg | na.204.5 v2.jpg | na.204.5 v3.jpg | na.204.5 v4.jpg | NA.204.5.JPG | NA.204.5 v1.jpg | NA.204.5 v2.jpg | NA.204.5 v3.jpg | NA.204.5 v4.jpg | crescent | stars | turtle | magpie | human | plant | pipes | Ghost Dance shirt | feather | pigment | tanned | magpie feathers | elkhide | Hinono'ei | Oklahoma | Arapaho

Sioux | South Dakota | Ghost...
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Exhibit notes: Gifted from The New Hampshire Historical Society, this shirt was used for both daily uses and religious purposes. The fact that that this shirt was used for multiple circumstances shows a versatility in clothing then just as we do now.

Museum record: NA.204.2 | ca. 1890 | L: 35.5 in, sleeve to sleeve: 67 in, body width: 27.5 in | Gift of The New Hampshire Historical Society | Dress and Adornment - Religious Attire. Ghost dance shirt - muslin shirt, long sleeved, hand-sewn with black thread, self-fringed at side and underarms seams, shoulder seams, hem, sleeve ends and neck edge, muslin fringe V sewn at front and back, gathered at sleeve ends and neck with fringed slit at back neck. Shirt is colored with red ochre (possibly) in bands at sleeve ends and elbows, alonge fringes and inside front and back V's, front V has an uncolored horizontal crescent moon in lower point. Front and back V points have a single eagle feather and a bunch of blue and yellow dyed breath feathers tied to cloth and a green dyed twisted thong. Tied at top of each shoulder with a twisted green dyed thong is a single eagle spike feather. Tied at underarm seam at the elbow is a bundle of green dyed thongs with small brown feathers and split owl feathers, sinew wrapped to ends of thongs. Tied at underarm seam at each sleeve end with a green dyed twisted thong is a single eagle spike feather sinew wrapped to thong ends. | NA.204.2back.JPG | NA.204.2view1.JPG | NA.204.2view2.JPG | NA.204.2dtl.JPG | NA.204.2.jpg | Ghost Dance shirt | muslin | eagle | feather | pigment | owl | thread | hand sewn | feathers | breath | Sioux | South Dakota

Northern Plains | shirt | pi...
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Exhibit notes: A beautiful shirt donated by the Dyck and Nielson families as well as the Estate of Margaret S. Coe, this piece shows us the functionality of the Native Americans' clothes. An everyday-use shirt, the only real damage is a few broken quills.

Museum record: NA.202.1184 | ca.1850 | shoulder to shoulder: 24 in, shirt length: 44 in, shirt length: 48 in | The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe | leather, wrapped quill design, beaded border, painted, horsehair, wool, horse tracks, quill is broken in areas, good, 1382 | l.312.2006.1500-view1.jpg | l.312.2006.1500-view2.jpg | shirt | shirt | pigment | Beads | tanned hide | horsehair | quills | wool | Northern Plains

South Dakota | Sioux | shirt...
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Exhibit notes: A gift from Larry Sheerin this shirt was also used for every day and or festival use.

Museum record: NA.202.598 | 1870s | L: 42.5 in, width: 58 in | Adolf Spohr Collection, Gift of Larry Sheerin | Dress and Adornment: Daily and/or Festive Adornment. Man's (Red Cloud) -- Deerskin, fringe. Upper portion painted blue, lower portion yellow with yellow, orange and brown lines in between. Triangular tabs on front and back of neck decorated with red and blue wool and beading in white, red, blue, green, turquoise and yellow. Lazy stitch beaded strips over shoulders and on each sleeve. Panels with turquoise diamond designs on dark blue ground also with white, green, yellow, red and pink on strips. Upper portion and sleeves also have small beaded squares in red and pink or turquoise and yellow. Human hair bundles run over shoulders and on sleeves, most dark but some light horse hair bundles. Bundles wrapped with undyed porcupine quills and attached to blue beads. Tabs at bottom on each side decorated with triangular piece of red and blue wool with white, blue and green beaded border. | Book: juvenile, Discovering the Arts, Native American Culture, by Katherine Gleason, Rourke Publishing LLC, Vero Beach, 2006, (received Sept. 2005) | NA.202.598Dk.JPG | NA.202.598view1.JPG | NA.202.598view2.JPG | NA.202.598.jpg | strips | Diamond | triangular | squares | shirt | human hair | Horse Hair | deer hide | Glass seed beads | pigment | porcupine quills | wool | South Dakota | Sioux

Northern Plains | Moccasins ...
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Exhibit notes: From Harriet and Edson Spencer, these doll- moccasins are an example of how, even in the past, dressing toys like we dress ourselves is a cultural norm. This item links not only time periods, but different cultures.

Museum record: NA.507.103 | L: 3.25 in, width: 1.375 in, H: 1 in | Gift of Harriet and Edson Spencer | Ritual and Recreation; Toys. Doll mocs decorated with a blue and white beaded cross. | na.507.103.jpg | cross | Moccasins | doll | Beads | leather | Northern Plains

Northern Plains | Kiowa | to...
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Exhibit notes: As this toy cradle is able to be worn, like an accessory or out of necessity, it can be viewed as a type of clothing. Gifted by Richard W. Leche this toy cradle, like other artifacts before it, show a blending of cultures. Just like Native American children would play with this cradle, kids today have mock strollers. However the craftsmanship illustrates the pride put into creating toys.

Museum record: NA.507.1 | ca. 1885 | cradle length: 15.5 in, cradle width: 5 in | Gift of Richard W. Leche | Ritual and Recreation: Toys. Canvas with lazy stitch bead decoration in geometric design on top and sides except for small portion of bottom. Separate bead border. Buckskin lacing. Mounted on wooden lattice board frame with brass tack design. Cradle as red cloth backing. | NA.507.1.JPG | na.507.1.jpg | NA.507.1.jpg | geometric | toy cradle | brass | Beads | wood | seed | deer | canvas | lattice | board | Red | cloth | hide | tacks | Northern Plains | Kiowa

Sioux | Northern Plains | ca...
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Exhibit notes: Perhaps one of the most well-known artifacts at the Buffalo Bill Museum, this flat-bill cap brings the exhibit to a full circle. Much like it headdress ancestor, this hat can be worn at festivities, but as it is also a more modern item it can be worn for everyday use. This hat symbolizes one way to adopt more modern looks, while keeping the culture and craftsmanship of the Native Americans alive and well.

Museum record: NA.202.394 | 1984 | H: 4.5 in, L: 10.75 in, width: 7.5 in | Dress and Adornment: Daily And/or Festive Adornment. Woven plastic, adjustable, billed. Blue with beaded bill and front. Blue, white, orange, red and yellow geometric star and cross design beadwork on light blue ground. Arrow design trim in same colors at the top. Black cloth brow band, mfg. tag - Funkap, large, made in U.S.A. | The Anguish of Snails: Volume 2, Folklore in the West; by Barre Toelken; Utah State University Press, Logan Utah; 2003; page 59 | NA.202.394.JPG | star | geometric | cross | cap | plastic | Beads | seed | billed | nylon | Sioux | Northern Plains