Highlights From “Infinity of Nations”- page 5 | People & Places | Smithsonian
Contemporary Northern Cheyenne artist Bently Spang wove together photographic negatives and prints of his family’s Montana ranch to design a variation on a traditional war shirt. (Walter Larrimore, National Museum of the American Indian)

Highlights From “Infinity of Nations”

A new exhibition explores thousands of years of artwork from the Native nations of North, Central and South America

Infinity-of-Nations-Wedding-Dress-5

Wedding Dress
(Maura McCarthy)
Susette La Flesche was born into the Omaha tribe of Nebraska and attended school on the East Coast before returning home to teach in her community. In 1877, La Flesche saw the neighboring Ponca tribe expelled from their land, a calamity that killed up to one-third of all tribal members. Taking matters into her own hands, La Flesche became an advocate for Native peoples. She married Thomas Tibbles, a white reporter for the Omaha Herald in 1881. Together, the couple helped publicize the case of Standing Bear v. Crook, which resulted in a landmark civil rights ruling that recognized American Indians as persons under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

“She was a precursor to today’s Native people, who find themselves living in two worlds,” says Blue Spruce. “Through her Western education, she was able to advocate for her own people in a non-Native world.”

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