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Beadwork Masterpieces: Native American Bandolier Bags

Omaha

The Omaha were associated with the Iowa in northwestern Iowa and southwestern Minnesota during the mid to late 1600s. As the Sioux moved south and west, the Omaha moved still farther west to South Dakota, and by the late 1700s, to Nebraska. Several features characterize Omaha bags:

  • Offset shoulder straps
  • Identical designs on both sides of the strap
  • Linear designs that are often repeated
  • Mirror-image appliqué designs
  • Six-pointed star motif.


Omaha, 1900
Omaha, 1900

Source: Mr. & Mrs. Fred Brady, Shawnee Mission, KS.
[11493-5]

Omaha, 1910
Omaha, 1910

This Omaha bag features an asymmetrical appliqué floral design identifying it as a late bag with a design inspired by the Ojibwe. The short back panel and German silver brooches suggest a prairie origin. The offset straps are a design feature shared with the Winnebago.
Source: Loan from the Anthropology Division, University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln.
[A73.01.20]

Omaha, 1900-1910
Omaha, 1900-1910

The horse motif is a common decorative element that can be seen as early as the 1860s.
Source: Joy M. Swift, Lincoln
[9837-1]

Omaha boys on horseback
Omaha boys on horseback with bandolier bag in 1899

Source: Nebraska State Historical Society
[order photo] [RG1289-10-4]

John Blackbird
John Blackbird, an Omaha, about 1910

Source: Nebraska State Historical Society
[order photo] [RG1289-17-1]

Henry Turner
Henry Turner, an Omaha, about 1910

Source: Nebraska State Historical Society
[order photo] [RG1289-10-3]

Alfred Blackbird
Alfred Blackbird, an Omaha

Source: Nebraska State Historical Society
[order photo] [RG1289-247]


Interior of an Omaha family home in Lincoln, Nebraska

Source: Nebraska State Historical Society
[order photo] [RG2026-33]




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Last updated 7 February 2005  

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