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October 29, 2015

The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: For Halloween, a Spooktacular Navajo Rug

Over the years, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) purchased several pieces for its Headquarters Collection from the Indian Craft Shop, a retail store that opened in 1938 within the new Department of the Interior Building in Washington, D.C. Created at the request of Secretary Harold Ickes[1] and still located in the original salesrooms decorated with murals painted by Allan Houser (1914–94, Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache) and Gerald Nailor (1917–52, Diné), the Indian Craft Shop continues to promote the work of American Indian and Alaska Native artists. 

255960 Elizabeth Begay


Elizabeth Begay (Diné, b. 1969), miniature pictorial rug, ca. 1985. Sawmill Chapter, Navajo Nation, near Sawmill, Arizona. Wool, 14 x 11 cm. Purchased in 1986 by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board from the Indian Craft Shop in Washington, D.C. Indian Arts and Crafts Board Collection, Department of the Interior, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. NMAI 25/5960


On March 18, 1986, the IACB purchased 11 pieces from the Indian Craft Shop, including this miniature Halloween rug by Elizabeth Begay (Diné). Measuring smaller than 6 by 5 inches, the rug shows a trick-or-treating scene. Baskets in hand, children dressed as a ghost, witch, and pumpkin-man approach a house and hogan to ask for candy. Along with haystacks in front of the hogan, Begay wove a black cat and jack-o’-lantern perched on the fence in the foreground and framed the entire composition with a brown serrated border.

Begay lives near Sawmill, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, where she and her mother, Nellie Tsosie, specialize in miniature, pictorial, classic revival, and third-phase chief's rugs.[2] This weaving is both a miniature and a pictorial rug. Since the mid-to-late 19th century, Navajo weavers have depicted animals, people, landscapes, reservation scenes, and images from popular culture in their work.[3] Known as pictorial rugs, these weavings quickly became popular among collectors and tourists, but that should not overshadow the weavers’ creativity and pleasure in innovation expressed through the form. As scholar Susan Brown McGreevy explains, “Navajo pictorial weavings provide a visual record of continuity and change in Navajo life, and an affirmation of Navajo imagination, humor, and artistic vision.”[4] 

At the same time that it purchased Elizabeth Begay's Halloween rug, the IACB bought a Christmas-themed rug by her mother. Framed with a gray border, Nellie Tsosie's rug depicts a couple, standing on boxes, trimming a large tree outside their house, with presents placed in a row underneath the tree.

255964 Nellie Tsosie

Nellie Tsosie (Diné), miniature pictorial rug, ca. 1985. Sawmill Chapter, Navajo Nation, near Sawmill, Arizona. Wool, 16.5 x 13.3 cm. Purchased in 1986 by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board from the Indian Craft Shop in Washington, D.C. Indian Arts and Crafts Board Collection, Department of the Interior, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. NMAI 25/5964

“The pictorial tradition is born out of narrative," Navajo weaver Marlowe Katoney says. "It both records and demonstrates the confluences of Western influence on Navajo tradition.”[5]  These pictorial rugs, and others by Begay and Tsosie in the IACB Collection, are wonderful illustrations of that cultural interplay.   

—Anya Montiel

Photos by Ernest Amoroso, NMAI

Anya Montiel (Tohono O'odham/Mexican) is a PhD candidate at Yale University and a curatorial research fellow at the National Museum of the American Indian. This post is part of a series Anya is writing on the Indian Arts and Crafts Board Headquarters Collection at the museum.


[1] David W. Look and Carole L. Perrault, The Interior Building: Its Architecture and Its Art (Washington DC: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Preservation Assistance Division, 1986), 16.

[2] Gregory Schaaf, American Indian Textiles: 2,000 Artist Biographies, c. 1800–Present (Santa Fe NM: CIAC Press, 2001), 47.

[3] Schaaf, 26.

[4] Susan Brown McGreevy, “The Image Weavers: Contemporary Navajo Pictorial Textiles,” American Indian Art Magazine 19, no. 4 (Autumn 1994): 50.

[5] Marlowe Katoney, email conversation with Anya Montiel, 25 October 2015. 

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October 24, 2015

Meet Native America: John Lane Berrey, Chairman of the Quapaw Tribe

In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native people today. —Dennis Zotigh

Please introduce yourself with your name and title.

John Lane Berrey. I'm chairman of the Quapaw Tribe

Can you share your Native name and its English translation, or your nickname? 

I have two Native names—Hum-Bah-Gah-Kah, my Quapaw name, which means Big Elk, and Nee-Wah, my Osage name, which means Healing Water.

John_Berrey_2
Chairman John L. Berrey, Quapaw Business Committee.

Where is your tribal community located?

The Quapaw tribal headquarters are in Quapaw, Oklahoma, in the northeastern corner of the state. On the Osage side of my family, Pawhuska, Oklahoma, is the capital of the Osage Nation.

Where was the Quapaw Tribe originally from?

Before we came to Oklahoma, we lived in Arkansas.

What is a significant point in history from your tribe that you would like to share?

We are the survivors of forced removal. We were removed from our lands in Arkansas three times in the early 19th century. In our own time, we have a Superfund site on part of current Quapaw land.

How is your tribal government set up?

Our government is established by a Governing Resolution.

Is there a functional, traditional entity of leadership in addition to your modern government system?

No.

How often are elected leaders chosen?

Members of the Quapaw Tribal Business Committee are elected every two years.

How often does your tribal council meet?

The Business Committee meets monthly. The General Council meets once a year.

What responsibilities do you have as tribal chairman?

I'm responsible for the management of tribal government, the oversight of tribal businesses, the care of tribal members, and the protection of Quapaw culture.

How did your life experience prepare you to lead your tribe?

Elders have influenced me very much from my youth to today. 

Who inspired you as a mentor?

I'm inspired by Ardina Moore and, from history, by Heckaton, who was a chief during the early 1800s. 

Are you a descendant of a historical leader? If so, who?

Yes, I'm a direct, seventh-generation descendant of Chief Heckaton.

Approximately how many members are in the Quapaw Tribe?

We have about 4,800 tribal members.

What are the criteria to become a member of your tribe.

The criterion is direct descendancy from one of two tribal rolls—the 1959 Payment Roll or the 1890 Quapaw Membership Roll.

Is your language still spoken on your homelands? If so, what percentage of your people would you estimate are fluent speakers?

The Quapaw language is still spoken, and we teach it at our museum. About one percent of the people are fluent.

John_Berrey
Chairman Berrey at the Quapaw Tribe's Downstream Casino Resort.

What economic enterprises does your tribe own?

We own the Quapaw Cattle CompanyQuapaw Services AuthorityO-Gah-Pah Learning CenterDownstream Learning CenterDownstream Casino ResortQuapaw CasinoEagle Creek Golf CourseO-Gah-Pah Convenience StoreDownstream Q StoreQuapaw Counseling ServicesJohn L. Berrey Fitness Center, and Quapaw Tribal Museum. We also operate the Quapaw Fire/EMS and Quapaw Marshals.

What annual events does your tribe sponsor?

We host the Quapaw Pow Wow, the Day of Champions sports program, and the Native American Scouting Combine to showcase Native American high school athletes who will graduate that year.

What other attractions are available for visitors on your land?

The Downstream Casino Resort is the biggest attraction. We're also on Old Highway 66 or Route 66—the Will Rogers Highway.

How does your tribe deal with the United States as a sovereign nation?

We deal with the U.S. as a sovereign nation in everything. We exercise our sovereignty every day, on every decision.

What message would you like to share with the youth of your tribe?

Stay off drugs. Be spiritual, kind, generous, involved, and educated.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes—being the chairman of the Quapaw Tribe is the greatest opportunity in the world! 

Thank you. 

Thank you. 


Photos courtesy of the Quapaw Tribe; used with permission.

To read other interviews in this series, click on the banner below. Meet-native-america
From left to right: Representative Ponka-We Victors (Tohono O’odham/Southern Ponca) taking the oath of office in the Kansas House of Representatives; photo courtesy of Kansas Rep. Scott Schwab. Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache) at the Sundance Film Festival; photo courtesy of WireImage. Sergeant Debra Mooney (Choctaw) at the powwow in Al Taqaddum Air Force Base, Iraq, 2004; photo courtesy of Sgt. Debra Mooney. Councilman Jonathan Perry (Wampanoag) in traditional clothing; photo courtesy of Jonathan Perry. Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee) at Blackhorse et al. v. Pro Football, Inc., press conference, U.S. Patent and Trade Office, February 7, 2013; photo courtesy of Mary Phillips. All photos used with permission. 

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October 23, 2015

The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Stockbridge–Munsee Arts and Crafts Enterprise

In the 1960s, the Stockbridge–Munsee Community of Wisconsin worked with instructors at the University of Wisconsin Art Education Extension to develop an arts and crafts enterprise featuring art made by tribal members. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board purchased 17 pieces from the enterprise for its Headquarters Collection.

The Stockbridge–Munsee Arts and Crafts Enterprise began in 1963 through a proposal from the Indian Affairs Subcommittee of the Governor’s Commission on Human Rights and was realized through a grant and a loan from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.[1] Centered on “the creation of fine crafts forms,” the program trained members of the Stockbridge–Munsee community in weaving, printmaking, jewelry making, and woodcarving. Instructors from the University of Wisconsin Art Education Extension trained the participants and assisted with the execution of the designs and development of promotional brochures.[2] Targeting tourist and gift markets, the enterprise emphasized the incorporation of local materials and tribal designs and produced silver jewelry, woven ties and belts, wooden bowls, and printed wall hangings and tote bags.

258620 Stockbridge-Munsee tote bag
Stockbridge–Munsee tote bag, 1964. Bowler, Stockbridge–Munsee Reservation, Shawano County, Wisconsin. Block print ink on canvas, twine, commercially tanned leather, metal grommets; 44.2 x 29.3 x 1.5 cm. Purchased in 1964 by Indian Arts and Crafts Board representatives from Wisconsin Indian Craft. Indian Arts and Crafts Board Collection, Department of the Interior, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. NMAI 25/8620

Although the Stockbridge–Munsee Community is now located in Wisconsin, its history begins on the East Coast of the United States with the Mohicans of New England and the Lenni Lenape of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. In 1734, missionary John Sergeant preached to Mohicans living in the village of Wnahtukuk and Christianized them. Sergeant encouraged the Mohicans to start a mission in western Massachusetts. The mission was called Stockbridge, and the Mohicans who moved there became known as the Stockbridge Indians. Increasing encroachment by white settlers forced the Stockbridge Indian community to move to central New York in the 1780s. In 1817 and 1818, as land companies encouraged the state of New York to remove its Indian tribes, Stockbridge families moved to Indiana to live among the Miami and the Lenni Lenape. Upon their arrival, the Stockbridge community discovered that the land in Indiana had been sold to white settlers.

In 1822—joined by the Munsee, a group of Lenni Lenape—the Stockbridge settled in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin. That year the state of New York and the U.S. War Department negotiated with the Menominee and Ho-Chunk of Wisconsin to establish land tracts for the Stockbridge–Munsee and two other East Coast tribes who had been pushed west—the Oneida and the Brothertown Indians. By 1831, 225 Stockbridge lived in Wisconsin along with 100 Munsee. In 1839, following the implementation of the Indian Removal Act by President Andrew Jackson, some Stockbridge–Munsee, who feared another relocation, moved to Indian Territory. Some of those families stayed in Kansas and Oklahoma; others returned to Wisconsin in 1848. For a more detailed history of that period, see the Stockbridge–Munsee Community website

257479 Stockbridge–Munsee Many Trails pendant

257478 Stockbridge–Munsee mayflower pendant
Upper: Stockbridge–Munsee necklace with Many Trails pendant, 1963–64. Silver, commercial leather thong; 32 x 3 x 0.7 cm. NMAI 25/7479 
Lower: Stockbridge–Munsee necklace with mayflower pendant, 1963–64. Silver, glass, commercial leather thong; 36.5 x 6.7 x 1 cm. NMAI 25/7478 
Both: Bowler, Stockbridge–Munsee Reservation, Shawano County, Wisconsin. Purchased in 1964 by Indian Arts and Crafts Board representatives from the Tipi Shop, Sioux Indian Museum and Crafts Center, Rapid City, South Dakota. Indian Arts and Crafts Board Collection, Department of the Interior, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. 

The Many Trails design seen on this silver pendant symbolizes the diasporic history of the Stockbridge–Munsee. Created by Elder Edwin Martin, the design uses numerous lines to represent the many trails taken by the Stockbridge–Munsee from the East Coast to Wisconsin. Martin reflected that the design symbolizes the “endurance, strength, and hope” of the Stockbridge–Munsee.[3]

Interestingly, the Many Trails pendant in the IACB Headquarters Collection uses an early version of the design motif. The current Many Trails design includes concentric circles representing campfires.

In July 2002, I interviewed Buck Martin (Stockbridge–Munsee), Edwin Martin's son, about the objects from the Stockbridge–Munsee Arts and Crafts Enterprise. The flower pendant with three silver petals set with a nugget of red glass depicts a mayflower. Buck Martin explained, “Mayflowers cover our reservation. That’s what we call them. . . . It’s the first flower that comes up in the spring . . . when you see them, you know that Mother Nature is waking up.”[4] The mayflower is also known as the trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens), a fragrant white or pink flower found in the eastern United States and Canada.

The other jewelry pieces feature examples of local fauna such as turtles, frogs, and fish made into silver pins, earrings, cufflinks, and tie bars. Upon seeing the colle­­ction, Buck Martin remarked that “nature impacted the development of the designs.”[5] The turtle pin is for the turtle clan, and the frog pin speaks to “the spring [when] you can hear frogs all around.”[6]

The enterprise attached labels of certification to its work saying “Hand Crafted by Indians of Wisconsin, Stockbridge Munsee Tribe, Bowler, Wisconsin.” Its products were sold to shops in the Milwaukee area and at Wisconsin tourist shops; the Tipi Shop, Inc., an arts and crafts shop within the Sioux Indian Museum in Rapid City, South Dakota, carried its products as well. The Stockbridge–Munsee Arts and Crafts Enterprise operated until 1970. 

—Anya Montiel

Anya Montiel (Tohono O'odham/Mexican) is a PhD candidate at Yale University and a curatorial research fellow at the National Museum of the American Indian. This post is part of a series Anya is writing on the Indian Arts and Crafts Board Headquarters Collection at the museum.


[1] “Exhibit of Indians’ Crafts Now Being Shown at U.W.,” The Capital Times (Madison WI), 18 December 1964: 5.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Catherine Coleman Brawer (ed.), Many Trails: Indians of the Lower Hudson Valley (Katonah NY: The Katonah Gallery, 1983), 9.

[4] Buck Martin, phone interview by Anya Montiel, 9 July 2002.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

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October 19, 2015

Meet Native America: Dr. Brucie Ogletree Richardson, Chief, Haliwa–Saponi Indian Tribe

In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native people today. —Dennis Zotigh


Please introduce yourself with your name and title.

Dr. Brucie Ogletree Richardson. I'm chief of the Haliwa–Saponi Indian Tribe.

Dr. Brucie Ogletree Richardson, chief of the Haliwa–Saponi
Chief of the Haliwa–Saponi Tribe Dr. Brucie Ogletree Richardson.

Can you share your Native name and its English translation, or your nickname?

My nickname is Glee. Representing the tribe, I usually go by Chief Ogletree.

Where is your tribal community located?

Most tribal members live in Halifax and Warren counties, North Carolina. The community is also known as Hollister.

Where were your people originally from?

We still live where we're originally from, in Halifax, Warren, and the surrounding counties in North Carolina.

Is there a significant point in your tribe's history that you would like to share?

The Haliwa–Saponi Indian Tribe received state recognition on April 15, 1965.

How is your tribal government set up?

The Haliwa–Saponi Indian Tribe is governed by 11 Tribal Council members, inclusive of the chief and vice chief.

Is there any other functional, traditional entity of leadership in addition to your modern government system?

Not to my knowledge.

How often are elected leaders chosen?

Leaders are elected to three-year staggered terms during the annual election.

How often does your government meet?

Regular Tribal Council meetings and regular meetings of the general tribal body are held on a monthly basis.

What responsibilities do you have as a tribal leader?

As chief, I am responsible for representing and promoting the cultural and traditional heritage of the tribe to its members and the public. Also, I preside at all annual, general, and special meetings of the tribe. At each tribal meeting, I share information that I consider proper concerning the business affairs and policies of the tribe.

How did your life experience prepare you to lead your tribe?

A Halifax County native, I am the daughter of the late Allen Randolph and Lillie Blanche Hedgepeth Green. I am the middle child of a family of 15 children. As a member of Mount Bethel Indian Baptist Church, I am actively involved in church activities, which include serving as an assistant musician and as a member of the scholarship committee and Women on Missions. 

In 1961, I graduated from the Haliwa Indian School. After graduating from Nash Community College and North Carolina Wesleyan College, I earned a master’s degree in educational administration, an educational specialist degree, and a doctoral degree in educational administration. While pursing my doctorate, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Sweden. As a life-long tribal member, I have experienced changes in tribal activities locally, statewide, and nationally. 

Dr Brucie Ogletree Richardson 2
Chief Ogletree. The two dates on the tribal seal in the background represent the year the Haliwa–Saponi Tribe was formally organized and the year the tribe received recognition by the state of North Carolina.

Who inspired you as a mentor?

My mentors and inspiration include my parents, husband, children, and other tribal members.

Approximately how many members are in your tribe?

The Haliwa–Saponi Tribe has 4,300 enrolled members. Approximately 2,700, or 62 percent, live in a very tight-knit tribal community in the northeastern section of North Carolina.

What are the criteria to become a member?

Membership consist of individuals who have successfully applied for and met the enrollment criteria as stated in the tribe’s bylaws and who have been accepted into the tribe by the Tribal Council and the general tribal membership.

Is your language still spoken on your homelands? If so, what percentage of your people would you estimate are fluent speakers?

Only a small percentage of our members know or use our language, Tutelo–Saponi. The resurrection of our language has begun, and several drum groups sing in Tutelo–Saponi.

What annual events does the tribe sponsor?

We host the annual Haliwa–Saponi Powwow in April to commemorate the tribe’s recognition by the state of North Carolina.

What other attractions are available for visitors on your land?

We are proud of the Chief W. R. Richardson Tribal Government Complex, the Rev. C. H. Richardson Community Building, and especially the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School.

How does your tribe deal with the United States as a sovereign nation?

We address issues of sovereignty through organizations that represent the interests and concerns of Native tribes and communities, for example by taking part in conferences and meetings such as the NCAI Conference.

What message would you like to share with the youth of your community?

I'd like our youth to know that, with education and hard work, there is no limit to what they can achieve.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes. I'd like to say that I am honored to be the first woman to serve as chief of the Haliwa–Saponi Indian Tribe.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Photographs courtesy of the Haliwa–Saponi Tribe; used with permission.

To read other interviews in this series, click on the banner below. Meet-native-america
From left to right: Representative Ponka-We Victors (Tohono O’odham/Southern Ponca) taking the oath of office in the Kansas House of Representatives; photo courtesy of Kansas Rep. Scott Schwab. Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache) at the Sundance Film Festival; photo courtesy of WireImage. Sergeant Debra Mooney (Choctaw) at the powwow in Al Taqaddum Air Force Base, Iraq, 2004; photo courtesy of Sgt. Debra Mooney. Councilman Jonathan Perry (Wampanoag) in traditional clothing; photo courtesy of Jonathan Perry. Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee) at Blackhorse et al. v. Pro Football, Inc., press conference, U.S. Patent and Trade Office, February 7, 2013; photo courtesy of Mary Phillips. All photos used with permission. 

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October 14, 2015

The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Catawba Pottery

259216 Catawba

259217 Catawba
Upper: Sara Ayers (Catawba, 1919–2002), vessel. 1962, Rock Hill, York County, South Carolina. Pottery, 22.5 x 14.3 x 13.2 cm. Donated to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board by the artist in 1962. Indian Arts and Crafts Board Collection, Department of the Interior, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. NMAI 25/9216. 
Lower: Nola Campbell (Catawba, 1918–2009), bowl with human effigy finials, 1960–62. Pottery, 33.5 x 13 x 10 cm. Donated to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board by the artist in 1962. Indian Arts and Crafts Board Collection, Department of the Interior, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. NMAI 25/9217. 


These ceramic bowls came into the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) Headquarters Collection from the artists directly. In 1962, Robert G. Hart, then general manager of the IACB, inquired about arts and crafts production among the Catawba of South Carolina. Word reached Gladys G. Thomas (1921–72), president of the Catawba Relief Society, who told fellow Catawba potters about the inquiry. Master potters Sara Ayers (1919–2002) and Nola Campbell (1918–2009) made gifts of these bowls to the IACB for exhibition purposes. The South Carolina General Assembly recognized Ayers and Campbell with its Folk Heritage Award, and their works are sought after by collectors today.

Catawba potters gather clay from the banks of the nearby Catawba River. These works are not wheel thrown; Ayers and Campbell used the traditional coiling method, building the walls of the vessel by wrapping “ropes” of clay on a base, then smoothing the walls by hand and with tools of shell, wood, or other materials. Before firing, the ceramics are burnished or rubbed with a river stone that adds a reflective sheen. The pieces are fired in an open pit, and the fire creates dark patterns and marks on the exterior. According the potter Louise Bryson, “when we burn them, we don’t know what color they’ll burn out. I like mine black. Some like reds and some whites.”[1] The “Indian head,” seen here, is a popular design, along with double-spouted wedding vases, three-legged pots, and snake pots. Handles and “heads” are not merely attached to the outside of a Catawba the ceramic. Holes are bored into the vessel's wall, and the appendages are inserted through them.[2]

The Catawba Indian Nation is the only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina. The Catawba are located in York County, in the north-central part of the state, and the current enrollment is more than 2,800 members. 

It is important to note that during the time of this interaction between the tribe and the IACB, the Catawba had been “terminated,” a U.S. federal policy realized through House Concurrent Resolution 108 (HCR 108), passed in 1953, subsequently terminating 109 tribes from federal recognition as sovereign dependent nations and eliminating at least 1.3 million acres of land from tribal ownership. The implications of HCR 108 for terminated tribes included ending federal responsibility, protection, and aid; withdrawing government services; closing certain Bureau of Indian Affairs schools and health clinics; abolishing tribal rolls; and dissolving reservations. The Catawba Indian tribe of South Carolina was terminated under federal law in 1959.

The Catawba petitioned the federal government for reinstatement in 1973. In 1980, the tribe filed suit in federal court to regain possession of its treaty lands. The U.S. government ruled that the 1840 Treaty of Nations Ford was invalid because it was negotiated with the state of South Carolina and not the federal government. After twenty years, the Catawba Indian Nation received federal recognition in 1993.

The IACB Headquarters Collection contains 17 Catawba artworks, all ceramic pieces—bowls, pipe bowls, figurines, etc. Thirteen works are by Sara Ayers and two by Nola Campbell; two are by unknown artists. Ayers developed and maintained a relationship with the IACB; she donated to the collection two more times. In 1973, she gifted a six-stemmed pipe bowl during a visit to Washington, D.C. Two years later, Ayers gifted a tripod vessel with “Indian head” handles. Robert Hall thanked her for the 1975 donation in a letter and remarked that, “I feel that [this work] is an especially fine piece, and we are delighted to have it so that many people over the years will have an opportunity to gain enjoyment and inspiration from it.”[3] The IACB purchased the remaining nine pieces from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Indian Craft Shop in Washington, D.C.

—Anya Montiel


Anya Montiel (Tohono O'odham/Mexican) is a PhD candidate at Yale University and a curatorial research fellow at the National Museum of the American Indian. This post is part of a series Anya is writing on the Indian Arts and Crafts Board Collection at the museum.


[1] Thomas John Blumer and William L. Harris, Catawba Indian Pottery: The Survival of a Folk Tradition (Tuscaloosa AL: University of Alabama Press, 2004), 58.

[2] Blumer and Harris, 131. 

[3] Robert G. Hart, IACB general manager, to Sara Ayers, 29 July 1975, letter, IACB accession file for NMAI 25/9772, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC.

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