Object: Beaded Moccasins

Beaded Moccasins, 1 pair

E/1958/25/010

Sam Noble Museum Ethnology Department

Probably 20th Century

Smoked Hide, Beads, string

Cheyenne

sheehybrandon_82632_9643829_moccasin 1 - 1

While searching through the Sam Noble Museum Ethnology Database, a beautiful pair of moccasins caught my attention. The moccasins come from the Northern Cheyenne tribe. The Northern and Southern Cheyenne tribes began as one Cheyenne tribe. The Cheyenne occupied the woodland prairie of the Mississippi Valley until the 1680’s when the Sioux forced the Cheyenne to move because of trading with the French. The Cheyenne tribe moved west and continued to trade and were able to obtain horses. After receiving horsed the Cheyenne became a nomadic tribe and didn’t stabilize a position until the 1820’s in the Black Hills. From there, the tribe began to split as a result of part of the tribe staying in the Black Hills and the other began to move in a southwest direction. The tribes permanently separated into the Northern and Southern Cheyenne in the Treaty of 1851, which stopped Indian-Indian and Indian-White conflict from United States settlers[1]. After the split, the Northern Cheyenne grew close to the Sioux, and the tribes became allies to fight in the Battle of Little Big Horn[2].

The moccasins are made from smoked hide and are completely beaded with blue, green, red, yellow, and black beads. The beads were sewn on in the lane stitch style which is commonly used by both the Cheyenne and Sioux tribes[3]. This type of stitch consists of lanes of 7 to 11 beads that are all sewn at once. Although the lane stitch is used all over the moccasins, it is most easily seen on the top of them.

One thing that is prevalent in both the moccasins and the Northern Cheyenne tribe is the strong Sioux influence. As mentioned earlier the Northern Cheyenne and the Sioux fought together in the Battle of Little Big Horn. Due to this we know that there is a strong relationship between the two tribes. This relationship is shown in the moccasins through the style of beading, and the color of beading.

sheehybrandon_82632_9643830_moccasin 2 - 1

When beading the Sioux tend to use white or light blue as a background color with red, navy blue, green, and yellow as design colors, while the Cheyenne mainly use white as background color with blue, green, pink, and yellow as design colors[4]. As you can see from the moccasins, the colors used come from both the Sioux and the Northern Cheyenne styles. The lane stitch is also used by both tribes, which once again shows the relationship between the tribes.

In conclusion, the Northern Cheyenne moccasins are different from other moccasins because of the relationship that they portray. Through the colors of beading and the style of beading it is clear that these moccasins have Sioux influence.

 

((Brandon Sheehy))-Written as part of the ANTH1253 2018 Spring Semester Class Project

1996

Cheyenne. Encyclopedia of World Cultures. Macmillan Reference USA

 

Ojibwa

2014

The Cheyenne Migrations. Native American Netroots. http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1737, accessed February 26, 2018

Dean, David

2002

Beading in the Native American tradition. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press

Reddick, Rex

2011

Typical Tribal Bead Colors. Whispering Wind 40(2): 8–11. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.ou.edu/docview/886433052?accountid=12964, accessed February 19, 2018

 

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Ethnology @ SNOMNH is an experimental weblog for sharing the collections of the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

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