AMERICAN INDIAN ART FAMILY GALLERY GUIDE
Start your adventure in Gallery 206! Hudson Bay
Gulf of Alaska
American Indian Culture Areas of North America Numbers indicate culture area of each object highlighted in this guide.
Great Basin California
Woodlands Atlantic Ocean
Southwest Pacific Ocean Gulf of Mexico
Dancing Blanket Mobile Guide #523
Count how many eyes you see. Find eyes that are part of a face. How many faces can you find?
Mary Ebbetts Hunt hand wove this robe out of mountain goat wool, yarn and shredded cedar bark. The robe is often called a dancing blanket. It is worn during ceremonial dances. The fringe would sway with movement.
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Noticing Everything Mobile Guide #517
Roxanne Swentzell made this Pueblo sacred clown, or Kosha, out of clay. Swentzell says, “We don’t always take the time to notice things; this Pueblo clown is reminding us to.” Look for clay jars and bowls in nearby cases. How many can you find with birds and animals? What would you like to make out of clay?
3 Bow and Arrows Walk around this case and look for the bow and arrows. See the different types of materials. Notice the animal skins. Find the glass beads. Imagine yourself wearing this bow case and quiver set. Would you feel proud wearing it?
Buffalo Shield Mobile Guide #511
The maker of this rawhide shield painted an image of a buffalo on its deerskin cover. The buffalo appeared as a guardian spirit for the shieldâ€™s owner, after a long period of prayer and not eating.
Paper or Cornhusk? Mobile Guide #514
Notice the shapes and beautiful colors. This finely woven bag is made of cornhusks, hemp and yarn. People originally used these bags to hold food. Look at the other bag in this case. It is painted with flowers in the design. Which is your favorite? Why?
Does a member of your group have a different favorite? 4
Think about what animal would protect you.
Draw an animal
on this shield to guard you.
War Bonnet Mobile Guide #509
Look for different sizes and colors of hawk, raven and dyed owl feathers. Each of the eagle feathers in this war bonnet represents a war honor. The headdress symbolizes the ownerâ€™s bravery and duty to his people. The headdress would drag on the ground if you wore it in the museum. Imagine wearing it on a horse, racing across the prairie in the wind. What would it feel like to wear the headdress on a horse?
7 Boyâ€™s Shirt A boy wore this beaded shirt during parades, ceremonies and celebrations. People associated the diamond pattern with the lizard. They believed the lizardâ€™s power protected the wearer. Why a lizard? Lizards are fast, agile and hard to catch.
Draw a pattern on the shirt that represents an animal.
Captain’s Coat Mobile Guide #502
The maker of this buffalo skin coat decorated it with painted patterns, beads, porcupine quills and red deer hair. Find the red deer hair at the ends of the quill-wrapped fringes on the shoulder. How many different patterns can you see? Turn your back to the coat. From memory, describe your favorite pattern to someone in your group. Can they guess where it is?
Think about all the materials you just found, from mountain goat wool to porcupine quills! Look around the gallery and ask yourself “What were they made out of?” IMAGE CAPTIONS 1. Mary Ebbetts Hunt (Anisalaga) (1823–1919), Tlingit, Southeast Alaska. Chilkat Robe (detail), ca. 1880–1900. Mountain goat wool, commercial wool yarn and yellow cedar bark. From the Estelle and Morton Sosland Collection, 49.2008.16. 2. Roxanne Swentzell (b. 1962), Santa Clara, New Mexico. Kosha Appreciating Anything, 1997. Clay and pigment. Purchase: the Donald D. Jones Fund for American Indian Art, 2003.22. © 1997 Roxanne Swentzell. 3. Bow Case and Quiver with Bow, Nez Perce, Idaho, ca. 1880. Otter skin, wool cloth, muslin, glass beads and ermine with wooden bow. Lent by Ed and Judy Benson, 8.2007.2.A-H. 4. Cornhusk Bag, Plateau, ca. 1900. Cornhusk, hemp and wool yarn. Purchase: acquired through the generosity of Delores DeWilde Bina and Robert F. Bina in honor of the 75th anniversary of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2008.23.
5. Shield, Arikara, North Dakota, ca. 1850. Buffalo rawhide, native leather and native pigment. Purchase: the Donald D. Jones Fund for American Indian Art, 2004.35. 6. Eagle Feather Headdress, Northern Cheyenne, Montana, ca. 1875. Eagle, hawk, owl and raven feathers, rawhide, native leather, wool and cotton cloth, glass beads, ermine skin, silk ribbon and horsehair. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 31-125/38. 7. Boy’s Shirt, Crow, Montana, ca. 1880. Crow. Native leather, glass beads, muslin and cotton cloth. Gift of Daniel R. Anthony III and Eleanor Anthony Tenney, 50-73/46. 8. Coat, Ojibwa, Ontario, Canada, ca. 1789. Native leather, rawhide, pigment, porcupine quills, glass beads and deer hair. Gift of Ned Jalbert in honor of the 75th anniversary of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and funds from the exchange of William Rockhill Nelson Trust properties, 2008.1.
45th & Oak, Kansas City, Missouri nelson-atkins.org 816.751.1ART
Learn more! Check out these books about American Indian culture and art recommended by the Kansas City Public Library.
Books for Young Readers • Beaver Steals Fire: A Salish Coyote Story by Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Non-Fiction Books • Between Earth and Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places by Joseph Bruchac
• Good Luck Cat by Joy Hario and illustrated by Paul Lee
• DK Eyewitness North American Indian by David Hamilton Murdoch
• Horse Indian Wolf: The Hidden Pictures of Judy Larson by Kathleen Kudlinski and Judy Larson • When Turtle Grew Feathers: A Tale from the Choctaw Nation by Tim Tingle and Stacey Schuett Books for Older Readers • The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich • Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac • Sees Behind Trees by Michael Dorris
• A Kid’s Guide to Native American History by Yvonne Wakim Dennis Books about American Indian Culture • Come Look With Me: American Indian Art by Stephanie Salomon and Charles Davey • Traditional Native American Arts and Activities by Arlette N. Braman • Native American History for Kids: With 21 Activities by Karen Bush Gibson
Check out the museum’s website at nelson-atkins.org to learn more about art classes, performances and hands-on activities especially for children and families.