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who stole the tee pee?


The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will survey the profound changing realities of Native American life that occurred during the 20th century in the United States in an exhibition titled "who stole the tee pee?" The exhibition will be on view Oct. 1 through Jan. 21, 2001 at the museum's George Gustav Heye Center in lower Manhattan. Admission is free.

Left to right: Lone Dog Winter Count, ca. 1875, Lone Dog, Lakota Sioux, Photo: Janine Sarna Jones; Beaded cap, ca. 1908, artist unknown, Choctaw, Photo: Roger Whiteside; "Shawnee Home Life About 1890," ca. 1910, Earnest Spybuck, Shawnee, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Steamboat pipe, ca. 1850, artist unknown, Haida (?), Photo: Katherine Fogden; Ivory pipe, ca. 1880, artist unknown, Inuit, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Playing cards, ca.1880, artist unknown, Apache, Photo: Carmelo Guadagno)

"who stole the tee pee?" - a question posed by artist George Littlechild (Plains Cree) -- is another way of asking, "What happened to our traditions?" During the past 100 years, missionaries, soldiers, teachers, government officials, and social reformers stripped Native peoples of much of the lifeways their ancestors had cultivated for thousands of years. Did they steal the tee pee? Or did they create a situation in which some Indians were more than willing to give it up?

Left: to right: Ceramic figure, artist unknown, Cochiti Pueblo, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Violin & bow, late 19th c., artist unknown, Mescalero Apache, Photo: Roger Whiteside; Cigar container, ca.1890, artist unknown, Huron, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Tapestry, ca. 1876, artist unknown, Navajo, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Dish, ca. 1861, artist unknown, Haida, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Beaded cane, early 20th c., artist unknown, Choctaw, Photo: Katherine Fogden)

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