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Gun Case

Monday, October 20th, 2014

A beaded Dakota hide gun case has a geometric pattern at the top with fringe below. The body of the case depicts two antlered animals. The bottom is fringed with metal tinkles interspersed. The case bears a white sticker with “McBrien” written on it. The case was collected by Colonel John G. Clark of the 50th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Fort Rice in Dakota Territory during the US-Dakota War, circa 1865-6.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this case in our collections database.

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Teton Dakota Vest

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

A lane-stitched beaded leather Teton Dakota vest, circa 1914.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this vest in our collections database.

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Beaded drawstring bag

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Beaded drawstring bag

A large beaded leather drawstring bag with six metal ornaments and blue wool yarn. The bag is either Cheyenne or Dakota (probably Teton) and is from the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, N.D. Circa 1900.

This bag can also be seen in person in our current Library Lobby display of Native American beadwork. It is open during regular Library hours.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this bag in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Dakota Pouch

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Dakota Pouch

Flat pouch beaded with a geometric pattern of red, white, light blue, dark blue, pink, gold, yellow and green beads lazy-stitched with sinew. Two United States flags are shown in beadwork at the top of one side. The bag was presented to the donor by Dakota of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, in 1912.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this bag in our collections database.

To see more examples of beadwork like this, visit the Library Lobby for the new exhibit on Native American beadwork. It is open regular Library hours.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Dakota Inkwell

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Dakota Beaded Inkwell

Ink bottle covered in bead work and glass stopper for bottle. Beadwork is done on cloth and then applied to the bottle. Rows of beading in green, gold, blue and red. Collected at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, South Dakota, circa 1900.

For details, view this inkwell in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Dakota Beaded Moccasins

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Dakota Beaded Moccasins

Pair of sinew sewn leather moccasins with rawhide sole bound with black cotton cloth. Decorated with glass seed beads in geometric pattern. Predominant colors are red, white, yellow, green, and blues. Tongue comprised of 3 tabs with attached metal tinkler cones with remnants of blue feathers. Heel seam fringe and leather thong tie closure.

For details, view these moccasins in our collections database.

Learn More:

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Dakota beaded jacket

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Dakota beaded jacket

Buckskin coat made by Dakota Indians and purchased by personnel of Camp Kamaji on Cass Lake, Minnesota in about 1910.

For details, view this jacket in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Henry Whipple St. Clair

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Henry Whipple St. Clair

Henry Whipple St. Clair poses for a studio portrait circa 1885, when he was a 15 year-old student attending Shattuck School in Faribault, Minnesota. St. Clair, an Episcopal deacon of Dakota Indian heritage ordained by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple in 1899, served communities throughout Minnesota and South Dakota and was an army chaplain during World War II.

For more information about the St. Clair family, visit their biographical page at In Honor of the People: Exploring American Indian culture in the Bishop Whipple collections.

For details about the photograph of St. Clair, visit our online collections database.

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Anniversary of Mankato executions

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

1862 Sung Ite Ha

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the largest mass hanging in United States history, carried out in Mankato, Minnesota on December 26, 1862.  On that day, 38 Dakota men were executed for their alleged participation in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

This fall, Minneapolis’ All My Relations Gallery presented Ded Unk’unpi: We Are Here, an exhibition of artworks by contemporary Native American artists.  Many of the artworks, like James Star Comes Out’s mixed media horse mask sculpture “1862 Sung Ite Ha” (above), comment on the execution of the 38, and on the grief, diaspora and exile of the Dakota people that followed.  The artist writes in a statement included in the exhibition:

The horse is respected as it is sacred and empowers the Lakota/ Dakota with its connection with the Wakinyan Oyate (which is important in Lakota/ Dakota belief). In that respect, the sacredness and utilization of the horse is vital in Lakota/ Dakota culture, as representation of honor, pride and value that are used for such ceremonies like a giveaway, honoring, or memorial of a loved one. In past, our ancestors expressed honor and pride by decorating a horse in their finest and given away as a gesture of generosity in honor of loved ones.

With this in mind, I created this piece with the date “1862” in honor and memorial of the 38 Dakota that were hanged in 1862. I have utlized floral designs that represent the Dakota Oyate. Overall, this art piece is a representation of the values and way of life of the Dakota, which defines who we are as a people. But most of all, honoring and remembering what the 38 Dakota went through so our people can live and exist.

For Every Great Man, There is a Great Woman

Avis Charley’s drawing “For Every Great Man, There is a Great Woman” (above) was also featured in Ded Unk’unpi. In her artist’s statement, Charley writes:

The Dakota War killed many warriors and chiefs. Behind every great man killed was a great woman. During this tragic period in history, the women had to stay strong while ugliness was rampant in their everyday lives from the downhill battle of losing their land and livelihood.

The women represent different generations and the virtues of our Dakota values. These values are courage, honesty, perseverance, and generosity and the message will be about healing, moving forward, and empowering ourselves as Dakota women despite the trauma in our history.

These pieces and more are on exhibit at the Hill House Gallery until January 13, 2013.

Learn more:

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Buckskin trousers

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Buckskin trousers

Buckskin trousers made in a style common to Dakota Indians with beadwork embroidery and outer leg seams trimmed with fringe.  Made in the late nineteenth century (between 1877 and 1899) by a Mrs. Galpin of Fort Yates, North Dakota.

For details, view the trousers in our online collections catalog.

To explore more examples of Dakota material culture, visit Oceti Ŝakowiŋ – The Seven Council Fires.

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An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs