Highlights From “Infinity of Nations”
A new exhibition explores thousands of years of artwork from the Native nations of North, Central and South America
- By Jess Righthand
- Smithsonian.com, January 04, 2011
(Walter Larrimore, National Museum of the American Indian)
Many Colonial soldiers in the mid-18th and early 19th centuries avidly sought traditional Native American garments. This outfit, however, was a gift to Lt. Andrew Foster, a British soldier in the War of 1812, from the Anishinaabe on the occasion of a ritual adoption, a ceremony that recognized a foreigner, or meyaagizid, as kin, or inawemaagen. While most items in the ensemble are Anishinaabe, the loom-woven quillwork on the moccasins is from the Wendat community near Detroit, and the pipe stems, quiver, shield, shield cover and crooked knife resemble Sioux weaponry. The outfit reflects a period of considerable confluence of indigenous cultures in the central Great Lakes area between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.