Source: Antiques Roadshow: "Late 19th-Century American Indian Clothing"
Antiques Roadshow: "Late 19th-Century American Indian Clothing"
A full Teacher's Guide accompanies this video on the Antiques Roadshow Web site.
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In this video from Antiques Roadshow, tribal arts appraiser Douglas Deihl looks at a collection of American Indian clothing and objects dating back to the 1880s and 1890s. The adolescent child's dress, moccasins, knife saber case and pipe bag were a gift to the superintendent of the Wichita National Grasslands in Oklahoma, who in 1930 removed a group of ranchers illegally grazing their animals in Indian territory. The artifacts represent several tribes, including Sioux, Cheyenne and Assiniboine, and exhibit fine detail, colorful symbols and exceptional craftsmanship.
Beginning in the 1830s, the U.S. federal government moved thousands of American Indians from Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee and resettled them in Oklahoma. By 1907, when Oklahoma became the 46th state to enter the Union, more than 30 tribes had been given federal land there. As increasing numbers of settlers and ranchers moved west, however, clashes developed as whites sought to take over American Indian lands. The clothing and objects presented in this Antiques Roadshow video were a gift to the superintendent of the Wichita National Grasslands in Oklahoma, who in 1930 removed a group of ranchers whose animals were grazing illegally in Indian territory.
To express their thanks to the superintendent, the American Indians assembled a diverse collection of objects. Among them are an adolescent child's dress, moccasins, a knife saber case, and a pipe bag. Several tribes — including Lakota, Cheyenne, and Assiniboine — are represented within this collection, which contains items created in the 1880s and 1890s. The appraiser notes that children's items, such as the dress, are particularly valuable and desirable; he also praises the fine detail, colorful symbols, and exceptional craftsmanship of the items.
GUEST: This collection was given to me by my great-uncle. He was a superintendent of the Wichita National Grasslands in Oklahoma, and he was responsible for moving out the ranchers who were grazing on the land there and restoring the land to the native wildlife. And for that, I was told, that the tribes there in appreciation gave him some of these items. I don't know if that's true or not.
DOUGLAS DEIHL, Appraiser: Well, it sounds true; a great story. What time period would this have been?
GUEST: In the 1930s.
DEIHL: Most of this material dates quite a bit earlier than that, actually, which is probably a compliment to him because they were probably heirlooms at the time. Most of it dates to the 1880s or '90s.
There are several tribes represented. In Oklahoma there was a lot of tribes living there. There was also a lot of tribes visiting in Oklahoma at that time period.
Probably the most impressive piece is the dress. This is from the upper Missouri River area, and probably Yankton Sioux, and it's an adolescent's dress, a very beautiful dress. They styled them a little differently than a lot of the other Sioux groups.
The next piece over here is a knife scabbard that was made by the Cheyenne. For some reason the Cheyenne favored putting figures like this. They're either dogs or horses, depending on how you interpret them. This one's made on harness leather, and it's a beautiful example of Cheyenne beadwork, probably from the late 19th century.
GUEST: Very intricate.
DEIHL: The moccasins are one of my favorites. This is from the northern Montana area, probably the Assiniboine. Assiniboine material culture is pretty rare. You don't see too many moccasins. These are probably from 1880s. They're quite beautiful. They've got bifurcated tongues, and they're very desirable on the market.
The pipe bag, on the other side by you, was to hold their pipe bowl and pipe stem. That's very typical Lakota work of the 1880s. Have you ever had anybody put a price on these things?
GUEST: No. Something in the family— I'd never sell it. I might give it to museum.
DEIHL: The dress itself— a current value would be probably about $20,000 to $25,000.
GUEST: Holy cow!
DEIHL: It's a nice dress.
DEIHL: Children's items are very valuable and very desirable. The Assiniboine mocs are quite beautiful. They're probably in the $5,000-to-$7,000 range. The Cheyenne knife scabbard, always desirable with pictographs on it, would be in the $5,000-to-$7,000 range.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
DEIHL: The least valuable, believe it or not, is the pipe bag, which probably most people would think would be the most valuable, but that's probably a $3,000-to-$4,000 pipe bag. The total value for this group would be $33,000 to $43,000.
GUEST: That is just amazing. I am just... I'm awestruck.
DEIHL: Well, it's a beautiful group of beadwork.
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