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Key Ideas
Cloth baby bonnets came from Euro-Americans in the 19th century.

Traditionally Plains women decorated objects with quill and beadwork designs.

Northwest Coast Southwest Mississippi Valley Northeast Woodlands Plains

Introduction --
American Flags
Baby Bonnet Label: Todd Yellow Cloud Augusta, Great Plains region (United States), Oglala Lakota, Baby Bonnet, 1991, Cotton, glass beads, The Christina N. and Swan J.Turnblad Memorial Fund, 91.93
Page from Sears Roebuck catalog with baby bonnets
Page from mail order catalogues with baby bonnets

This baby bonnet was made relatively recently, in 1991, by Todd Yellow Cloud Augusta, a member of the Oglala band of the Lakota tribe. In traditional Plains culture, beadwork was the art of women. In the 19th century they would obtain undecorated cloth baby bonnets from the Sears Roebuck Catalogue, and then richly decorate them with glass beads or porcupine quills. Although Augusta has broken a Plains tradition by doing beadwork (women's work), he continues another tradition - that only men can create representational art. Here, the bonnet is covered with pictographs, scenes showing daily life in times past.

Ho! Ye Sun, Moon, Stars, all ye that move in the heavens,
  I bid you hear me!
Into your midst has come a new life.
  Consent ye, I implore!
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the first hill!

- Omaho song introducing a child to the cosmos

Pipe Bowl Elkhide Pipe Bag Shield Dress Bonnet Native Amercan History and Culture


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