Object: Beaded game bags

E/1944/1/112 a-b
Game bags (or bandolier bags)
Ojibwe (aka Chippewa)
North America: Eastern Canada and/or Northeastern United States
Unknown: prior to 1944
Materials: Cotton cloth, velvet, glass beads, & yarn

These game bags are attributed to the Ojibwe tribe of Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States. Prior to the reservation period the Ojibwe, sometimes called the Chippewa or Anishenabe, people lived in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Ontario. They speak a form of the Algonquian language and are closely related to the Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes.

Bandolier bags are large, heavily beaded pouches with a beaded strap, worn diagonally over the shoulder. This style of bag was copied by native tribes of the Great Lakes area from those used by European soldiers to carry ammunition. Early versions of these bags did not have a pocket, but were solely for decoration. Beaded bandolier bags were produced mainly from the latter half of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th century, but they continue to be made today.

The following video shows historical photographs of Ojibwe people and their traditional dress.

Other examples of bandolier bags can be found the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Nebraska State Historical Society, Science Museum Minnesota, and others. [Kathryn S. (Barr) McCloud]

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