plains indian museum

The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe

At the turn of the century, ethnologists and anthropologists were trying to collect objects from different Plains Indian cultures, since they believed the cultures would not survive. The “laundry list,” as it was referred to, attempted to collect everything special and unique from the disappearing cultures. This usually included fancier items like beaded clothing, since they were considered to be more aesthetically pleasing.

 

 

Native American women used whatever materials they had to create objects. Hunter Old Elk, the curatorial assistant of the Plains Indian Museum, came across a very square, beaded box. The squareness surprised her and as she observed the object more, she realized the structure was made out of a commodity cheese box.

When a museum receives a mass donation of artifacts, it’s up to the museum staff to document every single object. And this is what happened when the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West received the Paul Dyke Buffalo Cultural Collection

Bethany Yellowtail

March is Women’s History Month. Hunter Old Elk, the curatorial assistant of the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, recently took a moment at Northwest College to highlight Women Warriors or Indigenous women of the 21st century. Old Elk who herself is of the Crow Nation and Yakama Nation spoke to Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska about how two Crow women have inspired her to promote contemporary native voices. The first: Bethany Yellowtail.