Posts Tagged 'Native American'

Object: Cradleboard

sverrisdottirannamargret_51021_9646183_Appendix picture 3 Object: Cradleboard Null

Accession Number: E/1952/4/069

Object: An elaborately beaded Kiowa cradleboard.

Location: USA, North American Plains

Date: Unknown; ca. late 19th century, early 20th century.

Materials: Pine Wood, Leather, Beads, Cloth, Paint, Thread, Brass Tacks

Keywords: North American Tribes/Cultures’ Category; Beadwork; Material

Blog post

 

sverrisdottirannamargret_51021_9646181_Appendix picture 1            This cradleboard is 112 centimeters long, 34.5 centimeters wide and 23 centimeters deep. It is made with a frame of two, pointed, pine wood boards attached to one smaller board around 1/3 of the way down the two larger boards (appendix picture 1). The boards are attached to each other with a thick leather thong. Attached with the same thongs is a “canvas sack with rawhide sheet inserted at the head end to form a hood” [1] (appendix picture 2). Attached to the canvas is soft skin that is elaborately decorated and fully covered with white, dark and light blue, pink, red, yellow and green, beads (appendix picture 3 and 4). The only part not decorated with beads is the bottom of the canvas sack where the leather has been dyed ochre and cut to a fringe (appendix picture 5). The inside of the bag has been lined with dotted, red, printed fabric (appendix picture 2). Above the hood there is a leather slab decorated with blue, yellow, red and white beads. “The tips of the slats have crosses made of brass tacks” [1] (appendix picture 6).

sverrisdottirannamargret_51021_9646186_Appendix picture 6            The Kiowa tribe originates from Western Montana, as a nomadic tribe they migrated southwest towards the Rocky Mountains in the late 17th and early 18th century. They later traveled further south towards the southwestern plains in the 19th century. The plains provided to be great hunting ground for buffalo and with large feral horse herds, which encouraged Kiowa development towards an equestrian, bison hunting culture. In 1865 the Little Arkansas Treaty forced the Kiowa and Comanche, a tribe whom they had formed an alliance with after a troubled history, off their homeland in Kansas and New Mexico. Two years later, in 1867, the Medicine Lodge Treaty was signed which established a 2.8-million-acre reservation for the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache tribes in southwestern Oklahoma [2].

sverrisdottirannamargret_51021_9646185_Appendix picture 5The Kiowa cradleboard stems from a longstanding tradition and need of Kiowa women having to keep their hands free to execute everyday tasks, such as preparing hide for clothing and household articles, whilst still having their children near to take care of them [3]. Not only did cradleboards offer women an opportunity to move more freely about, it also served a purpose to both protect and socialize the tribe’s children. The Kiowa cradleboard is strongly constructed, having the top and bottom of the cradle enforced with rawhide, to better keep the shape of the cradle and to provide protection if a cradle was to strike the ground [3]. The reason for the cradleboard being carried on a woman’s back, with the child’s face facing away from the mother, yet at eyelevel, was so the child could get used to being at the same level as the older members of the tribe. This was not only done so the child could physically be closer to the older members of the tribe but also, so it could gain a sense of community and belonging [4].

A child’s importance was not only shown through the level at which it was carried but also through the very elaborate beadwork and decoration of the cradleboard. Looking at the beadwork at the cradleboard researched it is very clear that countless hours would have been spent on making the elaborate patterns and the white background. Not only would the beadwork have taken a long time, but the materials would have to have been traded, with European tradesmen as well as non-local tribes [5]. This would make the cradleboard a time consuming and expensive investment for a family to make.

A cradleboard such as this one displays a great deal of mixture between tradition and innovation. Materials both locally sourced and traded in showcase an assimilation and appreciation of newer materials and how they were adapted to fit the needs of the tribe. The patterns found on the board are part of a longstanding tradition of patterns going down in families, with each beadmaker adding her own personal touch to it. Not only are the patterns traditional but also the color and the division of the patterned plains of the cradleboard.

Research of this cradleboard and comparisons of it to other cradleboards and the traditions around them showcase a deep respect and appreciation for children within the tribe. The importance of the children being socialized within the tribe from a young age and the time and commitment spent to build them a cradle serve as proof for this. The cradleboard also showcases a need to display talented bead workers work among the tribe’s other members and other tribes, as well as a sense of pride in a family tradition of keeping the patterns recognizable from generation to generation [2]. As seen through the Kiowa’s traditional artifacts it is also clear that they were not a people afraid of stagnation, they gladly took up new materials and incorporated them within their traditions, as is seen with how trade impacted the decoration of cradleboard, with more colors becoming available for beads and new fabric options.

 

Recommended readings and videos for more information:

An Evening with Vanessa Jennings: Kiowa Cradleboards, Culture, and Tradition

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk9A-uQh4EY  (discussion with contemporary Kiowa cradleboard makers at Brown University)

Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles by Barbara Hail (book)

Kiowa and Comanche Baby Carriers by M. J. Schneider (scholarly article)

 

((Anna Sverrisdottir))-Written as part of the ANTH1253 2018 Spring Semester Class Project

Sources:

[1] Greene, C. (1952). Item Card. Museum of the University of Oklahoma.

[2] Kratch, B. R. (2009). Kiowa (tribe). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from The Encycopedia of Oklahoma Histroy and Culture: http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=KI017

[3] Schneider, M. J. (1983). Kiowa and Comanche Baby Carriers. Plains Anthropologist, 305-314.

[4] Hail, B. A. (2000). Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles. Bristol, Rhode Island: Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.

[5] Alden, J. (1999). Contemporary American Indian Beadwork: The Exquisite Art. Millwood, NY: Dolph Publishing Inc.

 

 

 

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

 

Object: Beaded Moccasins

Object: Pair of fully beaded Moccasins

Accession: E/1982/11/017

Name: Pair of fully beaded Moccasins

Location: North America, Plains USA

Date: Early 20th Century

Materials: Rawhide, seed beads

riderdunstonebrittany_124935_9643543_IMG_0522

Keywords: Lakota, Teton, Sioux, Moccasins, Calf-Hide, Rawhide, Beaded, Native American, Lazy-Stitch, Sinew

This artifact, a pair of Lakota Indian Moccasins, comes from the Plains USA. The moccasins are made of rawhide. Typically moccasins are made of some kind of calf, buffalo, antelope, or elk (1). The artifact has multiple geometric designs including crosses and triangular shapes. The pair is fully beaded containing seed beads in the colors green, red, blue, and white. The beads are assorted in a “lazy stitch” technique. These moccasins have worn soles indicating usage, possibly for ceremonial practices.

 

The Lakota Indians come from the Plains lands of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota. The Lakotas, through beadwork culture, contain images and designs specific to the artist. The culture focuses on the individuality and imperfection of the beadwork at hand. Throughout time the usage of beadwork has changed. In the 1840s-1870s Lakota beadwork contained block images, simplistic triangle images and the beadwork they created were used in daily life. Typically the background contained a white base and kept to older block designs. Beading reached its height in the 1870s as the Lakotas were forced into reservations. As the decade continued more complex designs were introduced, such as geometric designs. In the 1940s-present the Lakotas began using multiple techniques, including the lazy-stitch, to introduce more intricate designs. As WWII ended veterans began coming back to the reservations and Powwows were used to celebrate their return. During this time beadwork became not only more complex but became great pride regalia for the Lakotas Indians. (2)

riderdunstonebrittany_124935_9643544_IMG_0536

In the artifact, the observant can identify the unsymmetrical pattern between the left and the right moccasin. This is a traditional value in Lakota beadwork. For the artist, it is not about making the pieces perfect but rather metaphorically showing the imperfection of a piece of craftwork. The Lakotas wanted to show how the imperfect is still beautiful. It was also believed that the irregularity was a “visual pun”, among the craft workers. (3) Usually, this imperfection would be seen as a mistake but in Lakota culture, this is a treasured value. Lakota Indians believed/believe that the imperfect is beautiful and the imperfect is just a fact of life.

The stitching in the moccasin is also a very prevalent tradition in Lakota culture. The “lazy-stitch” is a commonly used technique in beadwork among many Indian pieces. In identifying the difference, observers look at bead color, style, and how the piece is made. The Lakota Indians typically use white as the background with red, green, and blue as some of the main coloration. In the moccasins observed above, the observer can see these identifications present with the white background and red, blue, green coloration included. The piece also includes the lazy stitch technique throughout the beading. The stitch creates a sense of commonality and connection among the Lakota Indian beadwork. The technique has held up throughout Lakota Indian culture and shows the ability to replicate the technique. The coloration and stitching is a treasured past that holds significant value currently in Lakota culture.

 

riderdunstonebrittany_124935_9643547_IMG_0534

 

((Brittany Rider-Dunstone))-Written as part of the ANTH1253 2018 Spring Semester Class Project

References:

(1)Wallaert, Hélène
2006
Beads and a Vision: Waking Dreams and Induced Dreams as a Source of Knowledge for Beadwork Making. An Ethnographic Account from Sioux Country. Plains Anthropologist 51(197): 3–15c

(2)Dean, David

2002

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

(3) Green, Richard

1997

An Aspect of Irregularity in Teton Sioux Beadwork.  Whispering Wind 28(5) 9

Carved Horn Bugle from the American West

IMG_0009

Figure 1. Horn Bugle from the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum Natural History, Ethnology Collection. E/1951/01/036 Photo Taken 2017 by Christina Naruszewicz

E/1951/01/036

Cow Horn Bugle

Texas, United States

1890

Cow Horn, Fabric Strap

 

This bugle from the collection of the Sam Noble Museum is an intriguing artifact. It has several etched details on its surface. Towards the lip of the bugle is a cross-hatching design which continues for roughly four inches. This is hardly the most exciting aspect of the bugle, however. There are also several drawings of animals, including what appears to be two dogs, an eagle, and a horse with saddle and bridle. A detailed drawing of a rifle or shot gun is also meticulously carved. The most puzzling engraving on the surface of the bugle is a set of initials and a date reading: “FBC January 3, 1890.” Who was FBC and what is the significance of the date? Sadly, it is likely this detail about the horn bugle will remain a mystery. Despite this, we can wonder about the person or persons that handled this object through history and we can play detective about its role in their lives.

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Horn of this type can be used to create a variety of objects, including gun powder containers, combs, and cups. (1) Through a process of boiling or soaking the horn, it can also be softened, and cut into sheets for later use. (2) Bugles or signals made from animal horn are some of the earliest and most commonly created musical instruments. This quick video shows the process of creating a traditional Viking horn bugle that is very similar to the one in the collection.  .

The uses for horn bugles vary from the scared and ceremonial, to the mundane and functional. One example of a ceremonial significant bugle is the Jewish shofar. The shofar is an instrument traditionally made from ram horn. (2) The shofar is blown on special occasions, such as the beginning of the month, and at sacrificial or peace offerings. In the Bible, the shofar is said to have brought down the walls of Jericho.

In medieval Persia, animal horns were also used to create simple trumpets. These often had holes bored into the side, which could produce several musical tones. (3) Examples of similar bugles called the si, can be seen in Sumeria, one the earliest civilizations. Likewise, similar horn instruments were created in India, Greece, Europe, Africa, and elsewhere.

images

Figure 4. An example of a traditional Jewish Shofar, made from ram horn.

In the American colonies, the horn bugle has a history of being used as a long distance signal for battle or hunting. When a bugle or trumpet of this type is used during a hunt, it acts as a signal to the entire hunting party. It signals when a hunt has ended, or a target (such as a deer) has been located. By 1765 military or musical trumpets made from brass became popular, with many imported from Europe. (4) Due to the popular importation of brass instruments for concerts and military purposes, we can assume that this bugle was not imported. It is likely the Sam Noble’s animal horn bugle was made in Texas, Oklahoma, or another nearby state. Without holes to change it’s pitch, we can also assume this horn was not meant to be an musical instrument. Could the time, location, and the rifle etched on the side of the bugle indicate it was used as a hunting signal? Some of the clues seem to say so! However, this horn could have been made by a pair of idle hands as a toy, or other simple amusement.

Who do you think made the horn trumpet and why?

 

 

Sources:

 

  1. “On the Employment and Working of Animal Horn”, Scientific American, Jan 26, (1850), 142.
  2. Eugene Walter Nash, “The Euphonium: Its History, Literature and Use in American Schools” (Masters, University of Southern California, 1962), 16.
  3. Nash, “The Euphonium”, 21.
  4. Katheryn Eileen Bridwell-Briner, “The Horn in America from Colonial Society to 1842” (Phd diss., University of North Carolina, 2014), 83.

((Christina Naruszewicz))

Object: Feather Headdress

E/48/8/15
United States of America
1930′-1940s
Materials: Feathers, Leather, Dye, Glass Beads

This feather headdress was worn by one time University of Oklahoma mascot Little Red, who was mascot up until the early 1970s. He was a Native American and would wear tradition tribal dress and an iconic headdress known as a war bonnet. Little Red would perform on the sidelines at football and basketball games, and he would preform war dances when the team would score a touch down.

Little Red became controversial in the minds of many in the 1960s. The ethics of using a Native American as a sports team mascot became a subject of much debate at the University and in the greater Native American community. On the surface, the discussion appeared like it was between Indians and non-Indians, but the truth of the matter was it was far more complicated than that. This debate was centered in the Native community eventually bringing many Native families into odds with each other. Families and friends couldn’t agree on whether or not Little Red was an acceptable depiction of their culture. In the end, Little Red became the first Native American mascot to be removed from a college setting.

In the late 1960s, many groups began to petition for the removal of Little Red. The National Indian Youth Council, claimed that, “Little Red serves as a symbol of the physical oppression and cultural degradation that American Indians had faced in the past.” For all of those fighting against Little Red, there seemed to be just as devoted a crowd fighting for him.

Randy Palmer, in particular, was noted as being particularly invested in saving Little Red. The Daily Oklahoma reported that Palmer went so far as to run on field at the OU – Wisconsin game in September of the 1970 season, and preformed in the capacity of Little Red to an ecstatic crowd even though the mascot had already been banned. The controversy over Little Red is still relevant today. With discussions and disputes over mascots and team names in college and professional athletics taking center stage, it is important to remember all of the cases that have come before. It is important to remember Little Red. If you would like to learn more about some of the debate surrounding the topic of Indian mascots, watch the video below from a panel discussion at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian:

Work Cited

DeSpain, Matthew S.
2013  Little Red Died for Your Sins: Playing Indian at the University of Oklahoma and the Rise and Fall of Little Red. Native Matters The Journal of Native American Studies. http://66.147.244.221/~nativema/2013/04/11/50/

[Abbey Take]


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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