Newman Collection - Other
A piece of birch bark is formed into a cone with opening at the bottom. Such cones were used to funnel sap from the sugar maple into a container. Cone is formed with the outer bark to the inside, and the darker inner bark to the outside. It is scratched with linear designs, and sewn up the back. Similarly shaped cones with closed ends were sometimes used to store the sugar.
Scratching away the dark layer of innermost bark (the sap layer) to expose the light middle layer of the three ply bark was done to create designs called "wigwassi makakon" on Anishinaabe birch bark utensils. the scratched piece was placed in hot water, which darkened the sap layer, while leaving he inner layer light.
Wall hanging of the type produced for sale to non-Indians, Victorian era. floral beadwork worked in Anishinabe style on both pieces, which have been stitched together to form a bottomless pocket, similar to those made to hang tools, such as scissors. Purpose of this one undetermined; not suitable size and shape for scissors.
Bonnet, Lakota Feather
Lakota bonnet, made of 28 juvenile male golden eagle tail feathers, which are attached to a rope of the lariat variety by splitting, overlapping, and tying quill to form a loop which is then tied. Twenty-eight is a sacred number, but the number of feather may still be a coincidence. The rope base of the bonnet is attached to a felt hat of unknown origin (due to the delicate state of the bonnet, it was not handled during examination—it may have a label) The bonnet is of the short, sweptback variety, without trailers.
Also attached is a single red dyed turkey wing feather, either clipped or broken through age—probably broken since the eagle feathers are intact. Some bonnets have a stripped feather to remind the wearer to be humble. The turkey feather may serve that purpose.
The base of the eagle feather quills are wrapped with red woolen flannel, some of which is badly faded. On the back of the crown are owl feathers, including a number of great horned owl tail feathers, either partially stripped/clipped, or damaged. Intentional clipping was common.
A brow band with a blue beadwork background in two lanes has white triangles (tipi design) and smaller triangles set on edge. The red beads are a mixture of two colors of red-white hearts. Some faceted beads are also used. Dyed horsehair streamers are attached to the tips of the eagle feathers. Drops of winter ferret pelts hang down either side of the face of the wearer. The owl is associated with some warrior societies, and the ferret is esteemed for its fearlessness, as well as its life above and below ground.
Purse, Anishinabe/Prairie Buckskin Spot-Stitched
Small beaded bag with flap openings and thongs for attachment to a belt. Made for use by indigenous peoples, probably Anishinabe. However, the white outline, method of filling in design, and the abstract quality of the design suggests Pottawatomi, Ho-Chunk, or Prairie origin. Red Satin interior. Small bags were important accessories during this period.
Large plaited burden basket made of oak or ash splits, probably Ho-Chunk. Shaped from rectangular bottom to swell out in bottle shape and then to taper at the top. The horizontal splits are narrower than the vertical, which are approximately three times wider in some cases. Two long harness leather straps are attached to the hoop rim with studs, juxtaposing one another, with holes suggesting a buckle at one time.
This splendid saddle blanket has been beaded on buckskin panels which have then been stitched onto cloth; in former times it would have been entirely hide. Examination may reveal that originally this blanket was made entirely of hide, and cloth was used to repair it. The cloth itself shows damage ; two holes have been made in it, and the discoloration around them indicates that a western saddle has been used on this blanket, and the girt passed through these holes. This in turn has damaged the beadwork panels below the holes. Other similar blankets show similar wear and damage, and retain significant value. Brass hawk bells were at one time attached to all four corners.
The designs on the saddle are the dragonfly (swift, and difficult to kill,) a cross (usually the four directions) and box with points. The colors are medium blue, red or rose white hearts, yellow, green and deep blue, with points of white. The lanes of lazy stitching are made up of fourteen beads to speed up the process, as was common from 1890 -1920 roughly. Buffalo hides were nearly impossible to obtain during the early reservation period up until quite recently. It is a very fine addition to the collection. Reference to the purchase of this blanket is made in the scrapbook, saying it was obtained in Interior, SD, August 19, 1920.
A saddle blanket in the Buffalo Bill Museum has similar diagonally sectioned crosses. That blanket is identified as Lakota, c. 1885.
Small imbricated coiled basket from Washington State, erroneously labeled Pomo. The imbrication technique is unique to the Cascade region of Washington and British Columbia. Coiled cedar root is split into fine strands, sewn with cedar root to form the basket; the design is imbricated with inner bark of the chokecherry in the natural red or deepened by soaking in mud or decaying vegetation. The white element is bear grass. Rectangular bottom, gradually becoming rounded. Design is imbricated in a three-color zigzag, repeated around entire basket.
Previously, this basket was identified as "Pomo"; the 1995 assessor identified it as Pima. I would agree with this. From the 1920s to 1940s, Pima women made small cylindrical coiled "waste baskets" for the white market, decorated with adaptations of traditional designs. Materials used are willow splints and devil's claw. Examination of the start of the basket, the coil in the bottom, would be helpful in definite identification.
Bowl-shaped, fully imbricated basket. Previous assessor labeled this basket Chilcotin. The Chilcotin (Tsilhqot'n) are Athabascan speakers of the western Subarctic, the interior of the northern British Columbia. Technically subarctic, they have been heavily influenced by the Plateau culture. The mot readily observable characteristics of Chilcotin baskets, in addition to being sometimes imbricated, are (on oval baskets) a rim that is reinforced with a rod, a rim that stands higher on the ends and sags slightly toward the center, and a horizontal design element usually bisecting the entire basket. This basket has none of those features. A small percentage of Chilcotin baskets have irregular designs ,with lines of varying thicknesses, but this basket is extreme in that regard.
This basket is definitely of the Cascade region, as all imbricated baskets are from that area, it is probably Thompson River Salish also. The irregularity of the design may ultimately lead to its identification. A museum curator from the NW United States or Canada could probably identify it without hesitation.
Typical shape of Great Lakes scabbard; this one probably made as a wall hanging for scissors, as was done for sale around the turn of the century. The upper portion is unbeaded. Below that section, a velvet panel has been beaded with floral open spot stitch in white (this was also the format in the placement of panels of bandolier bag). A fully beaded loomed panel at the bottom has geometric floral design. The whole case is bound together with red braid. Anishinabe or possibly Potawatomi.