Dwell with Beauty: Native Americans at Home

Dwell with Beauty: Native Americans at Home

April 1–December 31, 2017

Home is a place full of activity—growing children, sizzling food, and the crafting of objects that serve the family and celebrate beauty.

Whether a tipi, longhouse, wigwam, earth lodge, or wooden house, the home has traditionally been the domain of women. Women were usually responsible for maintenance of the home, the activities that took place inside, and the creation of objects associated with raising children, feeding their families, and providing comfortable shelter. Activities celebrating events such as births and marriages also took place around the home and helped strengthen community ties with special occasion clothing and ceremonial garb made for these events.

Men had more visible public roles and were generally responsible for hunting, warfare, and interacting with outsiders. In the 19th century external political and social forces displaced most men as the main economic providers. Many women found ways to support their families by working at home and producing pottery, beadwork and basketry for sale.

This exhibition highlights the artistry in these everyday as well as special occasion objects that surrounded Native American families at home.

 

Image: Cases, ca. 1860-1870, Kiowa, Oklahoma, commercial leather, native tanned leather, glass beads, tin cones, brass beads and German silver button. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, Thaw Collection, T0078a-c.