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Objects from this time period are very rare. Why?

Native peoples did not think of saving things for posterity. When something wore out or broke, they simply made or acquired a replacement. Older items were sometimes passed on to younger generations, but over time much was lost.

European and Eastern visitors did collect souvenirs of their contact with Native people. While some items survive today in British, French, German, and other museums, they are quite rare. The sad truth is that Native cultures were subjugated and nearly destroyed. We are fortunate that there are living descendants of those cultures and artifacts from their ancestors that were not destroyed.

Copper Kettle

Copper Kettle

Native Americans adapted many new things to their traditional way of life. Kettles of copper, brass and iron quickly replaced the traditional cooking pots made from fired clay. This kettle was excavated at Fort Ouiatenon, near present-day Lafayette, Indiana.

Courtesy of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association

Trade Musket Side Lock Plate
Lake Manitou

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Trade Musket Side Lock Plate

The "serpent" musket sideplate probably reminded Indiana tribes of the serpent they thought lived in Lake Manitou, or Devil's Lake, outside of present-day Rochester, Indiana. This object was excavated at Ft. Ouiatenon.

Brass
Courtesy of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association 4270.957.1

Wea Silver Cross

St. Lorraine Cross (Wea?)

Made in Montreal, Canada, this cross was created by a European silversmith for trade with the Indians. To Native Americans, the cross stood for the four directions of power: east, south, west, and north.

Silver, ca. 1790-1800
Courtesy of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association

copper Kettle Trade Musket Side Lock Plate Wea Silver Cross
Gorget (Miami/Wea?)

Gorget (Miami/Wea?)

A gorget is part of a decorative necklace. Woodlands Indians wore gorgets made out of many different materials - stone, bone, silver, etc.

See the British crown in the middle of this gorget? European monarchies tried to win the Indian's friendship by giving them gorgets with symbols of their authority.

Silver
Courtesy of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association

Mortar and Pestle
Lake Mortar and Pestle Painting

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Mortar and Pestle

This mortar and pestle would have been used to crush dried corn kernels into flour. The pestle is the stick-like tool that grinds the kernels inside the mortar. Look at the ends of the mortar. They are a little longer so that they can be tied to a horse saddle and be easily moved. Can you find a similar mortar and pestle in this painting from the 1850s? Click on image below to see larger image.

Mortar and Pestle Painting

Brass
Courtesy of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association 4270.957.1

Gorget (Miami/Wea?) Mortar and Pestle
Greenville Treaty

Click on the image to see Little Turtle's signature

Little Turtle Signature

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Treaty of Greenville, 1795

The Treaty of Greenville resulted in the first major loss of land for Native Americans in the region. Can you find Me-she-kun-mogh-quoh's (Little Turtle) signature? Look at some of the other signatures. Why do you think the chiefs signed the treaty with these symbols?

First, Native American languages were oral, not written languages. (The names listed by their signatures were phonetic spelling written by translators.) Second, there were hundreds of Native Languages, so the best "written" language was something visual (just like our International signs).

Treaty with Wyandot and other at Greenville, August 3 1795.
Treaty#23 Indian Treaties, 1722-1869,
General Records of the U.S. Govement, Record Group 11, National Archives, Washington D.C.

Greenville Treaty
Potawatomi Removal, 1838

"...the whitemen were gathering thick around them... still they clung to their homes. But the flames of the torch were applied -- their villages and wigwams were annihilated ... [The Potawatomi] were driven Captives out of the land at the point of the bayonet!"

George Winter, 1838

George Winter
Pottawattamie Emigration
Ink and graphite on paper, observed 1838
Courtesy of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association

The Anthony Wayne Flag

The Anthony Wayne Flag

Some believe that this flag was made by Native American women at Gen. Anthony Wayne's request. It is made the same way that Miami ribbonwork is made - using a shingling technique. This particular flag was given to Miami Chief Shepacomish (Soldier) as part of the 1795 Treaty of Greenville negotiations.

Fabric, thread, 1795
Courtesy of Indiana Historical Bureau, State of Indiana
Photo: Melville McLean

Potawatomi Moccasins

Potawatomi Moccasins

The soil in the Woodlands is easy to walk on so tribes could wear soft-soled moccasins like these. Notice how the ribbonwork on the outer flaps of the moccasins is different from that on the inner flaps.

Buckskin, silk ribbon, glass beads
Courtesy of the Field Museum, 155681

Miami bandolier bag

Miami Bandolier Bag

Traditional Native American clothes for men had no pockets, so they used bags like this one to carry personal items. A Miami man may have used this bag to carry a comb, face paints or personal spiritual medicine. What kinds of things you do carry during the day? How do you carry them?

Cloth, hair (moose?), ribbonwork, beads, ca 1800
Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, 11/7664

My Blue Heron

My Blue Heron

Artist Ted Sitting Crow Garner is exploring the concept of sovereignty and treaties using the heron as a symbol of wildlife and undisturbed land. This piece references a particular agreement where the home of the blue heron was forever changed through a treaty (an agreement) that was broken. How does this relate to Native peoples?

Ted Sitting Crow Garner (Standing Rock Sioux)
Wood, watercolor and lacquer, 1996
Eiteljorg Museum, New Art of the West Purchase Fund and anonymous donor

According to Webster

According to Webster...

Nashville, Indiana artist Marty Gradolf combined a traditional U.S. Flag and a flag that represents Native America.

I created this because I've always been intrigued by flags -- what they say, who they represent and how they look. Historically, it's interesting to me how the American flag has been portrayed. The message is timeless.

- Marty Gradolf (Winnebago of Nebraska)

Marty Grandolf (Winnebago of Nebraska)
Wool, glass breads, ca. 2001
Eiteljorg Museum: Indian Market Signature Image Purchase Fund

Greenville Treaty Potawatomi Removal The Anthony Wayne Flag Potawatomi Moccasins Miami bandolier bag My Blue Heron According to Webster