Tracing the Emergence of Pan-Indian Conventions of Dress in the Collections of the American Museum of Natural History
Author(s): Claire Heckel
During the late-19th and early- 20th centuries, professional ethnographers/archaeologists and amateur collectors amassed more than 3,000 artifacts of dress and adornment from 17 cultural groups that are now part of the "Plains" collections at the American Museum of Natural History. These objects constitute a material record of conventions of dress that were inconsistently recorded at the time of artifact collection. Drawing on archaeological and ethnographic records, historical documents, and photographic archives, the present study is part of an ongoing effort to re-contextualize these objects and to re-examine conventional narratives of culture change and cultural resilience in Great Plains tribes of roughly the 1840s-1930s. This paper presents results of case studies of materials from the Omaha Tribe, the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. One of the central themes that has emerged in this study is the significance of inter-tribal exchange and the emergence of a Pan-Indian style of formal dress in the late 1800s. Selected results demonstrate the potential that re-analyses of museum collections have to emphasize native agency and resilience in narratives of culture change, and provide examples of the evidence that emerges with shifting research priorities and renewed approaches to artifacts.
Cite this Record
Tracing the Emergence of Pan-Indian Conventions of Dress in the Collections of the American Museum of Natural History. Claire Heckel. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431450)
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min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;
Abstract Id(s): 15334