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With All Due Respect



Honoring a warrior
<b>A'ani/Nakoda (Gros Ventre/Assiniboine)</b><br>Northern Plains region (United States)<br><b>Shirt</b>, about 1890<br>Wool, beads, animal hide, and ribbon
zoom A'ani/Nakoda (Gros Ventre/Assiniboine)
Northern Plains region (United States)
Shirt, about 1890
Wool, beads, animal hide, and ribbon

 

How many different materials do you see on this shirt? Seed beads, animal-hide fringes, and purple ribbon sewn onto red wool make a brightly colored garment with geometric designs. Like most native North American tribes, the Gros Ventre (A’ani, in their own language) used symbols to communicate what was important to them.

The man who owned this shirt had to work very hard to get it. He had to be strong in battle, very intelligent, and treat people respectfully. He could not buy a shirt like this; he had to deserve the honor of receiving it. If he did not speak and act honorably, it could be taken away.

Originally, this shirt was made of animal hide, not the red wool you see here. But it was worn so many times that the hide started falling apart. To preserve the designs, the beads and ribbons were removed and sewn onto the wool. Shirts like this are rarely found in museums, because so few have survived.


 
   
 
Educators' Evening
October 2003