Museum Minute: A Motoki Society Bonnet

Sep 17, 2018

Recently Rebecca West, the curator of the Plains Indian Museum, discovered an unique feather bonnet in the Paul Dyck Buffalo Culture Collection. The bonnet didn’t look like any of the typical bonnets seen previously.

After much research, West said it originates from the Mtoki Society of the Kainai, or Blood Nation in Canda. The Motoki Society is a women’s society compromised high status and knowledgeable women of the tribe. Within that society, there were three divisions. And this bonnet most likely belonged to a member of the Bird Society.

The bonnet is made out of really soft eagle feathers, most likely golden eagle feathers. It has a flow and a softness to it that's very different than some of the men's bonnets. Mainly, the placement and type of feathers is different from most typical men’s bonnets. However, the trailer of the bonnet is not as long as most men’s but it’s soft and it almost has a S curve to it. For West, this S curve offers a bit more of feminine aspect to the bonnet.