Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


Beaded Heritage
  • Beaded Heritage
  • 27-Mar-2010 - 01-Aug-2010
  • 20/21 Gallery, Process Space, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Haskell Indian Nations University seniors Julia and Twila White Bull are accomplished bead workers of Lakota and Chippewa Heritage. Initially trained by their parents in the art of beadwork, they explore their creative talents within the traditional bounds of their cultural identity, experimenting with style, color, and technique to suit their own artistic goals. Students in Haskell’s American Indian Studies program, Julia and Twila are working with Robin Bang, the Spencer’s Berkley Curatorial Intern for the Arts & Cultures of the Americas, Africa & Oceania, to present their personal dance regalia along with historic examples of beaded bags and moccasins from the Museum’s collections.

Because they have both Lakota Sioux and Chippewa heritage, Julia and Twila employ two distinct design styles in their work-geometric shapes unique to Lakota beading and curvilinear, floral designs of the Chippewa style. Personal regalia on view will include Julia’s dentalium-shell cape with 500 dentalium-shell beads (small tubular mollusks that look like little elephant tusks), and Twila’s jingle dress-displayed with the Chippewa healing story explaining the origins of this style of pow wow dance regalia. Highlights from the Spencer’s collection include a Chippewa Bandolier bag and Lakota moccasins with teepee designs, both dating to the early 20th century.

The Beaded Heritage exhibition and programs are supported in part by the Judith M. Cooke Native American Art Fund.