Fort La Reine
Anishinaabe/ininiwak/nehethowuk/nîhithaw; Manitoba or Saskatchewan
Cotton, glass seed beads, thread
By the early 1900s, people and regional artistic traditions had been spread widely across Western Canada. New types of beads were introduced, and modern beadwork styles developed that draw from many traditions. It becomes much more difficult to locate specific regions and cultural groups.
Heavily-beaded, glittering cuffs like this are probably part of regalia or a dance outfit.
inininwak/nehethowuk/Métis; Manitoba or Saskatchewan
Moose hide, deer or caribou hide, glass seed beads, cotton thread
Notice how the traditional wrapped thread or horsehair piping has been replaced with an embroidery stitch: A much faster way to decorate and cover the seam line.
Anishinaabe, Southern Manitoba or North-midwestern US
Smoked deer or moose hide, canvas, glass seed beads, cotton fabric, cotton thread, silk thread piping
The pattern of repeated diamonds running along the cuff is known as "Medicine Lodge" and is characteristic of Anishinaabe work. The couching threads securing the geometric beadwork on the vamp have all come loose somehow, and the canvas uppers with rope ties are a later addition.
Dakota/Nakota/Anishinaabe; Southern Manitoba or North Dakota
Smoked deer hide, glass seed beads, cotton fabric
This style of two-piece moccasin with a separate sole and all-over geometric decoration is shared by many cultures on the plains. The repeated diamond pattern is characteristically Anishinaabe.
Anishinaabe; Roseau River or Southern Manitoba
This style of legging is made to be worn under a dress, and might be paired with a jingle dress for dancing. This artist has a very distinctive and contemporary-looking style.
We located an extremely similar pair of leggings, with the same unique beadwork and blue denim-like backing, that were made at Roseau River.
Southern Manitoba or North-midewestern U.S>
Glass seed beads, canvas, wool stroud, smoked hide
Designs are meaningful, and they often carry hidden knowledge. These leggings show the lunar cycle: Each leg has four rows of seven diamonds, representing the 28 days between full moons. The blocks of red diamonds show the moon’s eight phases.
Artworks like this would have had a role in sharing teachings, but colonial collecting tore these hereditary traditions -- and their significance -- away from communities.
Anishinaabe; Leech Lake (Minnesota) region
c.1900 - 1920
Velveteen, glass seed bead, cotton fabric, cotton thread
This artist's vivid composition grows all the way up the wearer's legs. We found a photo of a man named Ne-gon-e-bin-ais (Flat Mouth) from Leech Lake wearing leggings with a virtually-identical pattern in 1900.
ininiwak/nehethowuk/nîhithaw/Anishinaabe; Manitoba or Saskatchewan
c. 1920s - 1930s
Canvas, glass seed beads, tubular glass beads, silk ribbon, steel bit
This artist was working in a transitional time: Old beads were being replaced with bright new colours, and modern approaches to being were being shared across Manitoba. The flowers with a filled white background resemble traditional Anishinaabe work, but they're also seen in diverse Cree traditions. The simplified, modern floral designs on the straps were beaded on a loom.
ininiwak/nehethowuk/nîhithaw/Anishinaabe/Dakota; Western Canada or North-central US
Canvas, cotton, glass seed beads, leather, thread
The beads on this bridle are more modern, and the simplified loom beadwork is now used on most of the piece. This artist decorated her work with an extremely complex picot edge.