Our Home: Native Minnesota Images

For immediate release

Release dated: 
September 17, 2019
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org or Lauren Peck, 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

Our Home: Native Minnesota Images

These images may be used for editorial purposes in magazines, newspapers and online to promote “Our Home: Native Minnesota,” opening Dec. 7, 2019, at the Minnesota History Center. Credit information is listed.


“Star Knowledge” star quilt made by Gwen Westerman

The threads in this star quilt stitch together connections Native people have to the sky and connections they have to each other. Each of the star’s eight points represents a member of artist Gwen Westerman’s family.

“Star Knowledge” star quilt made by Gwen Westerman, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Dakota), 2014

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Photograph of 44th annual celebration at White Earth Reservation

Members of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Dakota) and White Earth (Ojibwe) reservations have been gathering together in celebration since 1867, the year both reservations were established.

44th annual celebration at White Earth Reservation. Photograph by Randolph R. Johnson June 14, 1912

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1862 Sung Ite Ha horse mask ​made by James Star Comes Out  2012

The horse is respected in Native communities. In the past, Native ancestors expressed honor and pride by decorating horses in their finest and giving them away as gestures of generosity honoring loved ones.

Star Comes Out created this piece to honor and remember what the 38 Dakota men who were hanged in 1862 went through so Native people can live and exist. The floral designs represent the values and way of life of the Dakota Oyate.

“1862 Sung Ite Ha” horse mask mMade by James Star Comes Out, Oglala Lakota, 2012

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Quilled birch bark box ​made by an Eastern Ojibwe artist about 1890

The art of porcupine quillwork is distinct to North America. The shape and use of this box resembles those made by Mi’kmaq relatives on the Atlantic coast in the late 1800s. The distinct floral designs, though, show that it was made by an Ojibwe artist.


Quilled birch bark box made by an Eastern Ojibwe artist, about 1890

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Quilled birch bark box made by Melvin Losh ​2010

Almost lost in recent times, the art of quillwork is being revived today. Artist Melvin Losh has been creating intricate designs like this lady’s slipper box for more than 50 years.

Quilled birch bark box made by Melvin Losh, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe​, ​2010

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Anti-treaty rights pins 1990-93

The Save Lake Mille Lacs Association comprised about 100 Minnesota sportsmen’s groups opposed to the Mille Lacs Band’s assertion of fishing rights guaranteed by the Treaty of 1837. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

Anti-treaty rights pins from ​Save Lake Mille Lacs Association, 1990-93

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Ojibwe women at Leech Lake, ​1906

Christian missionaries began teaching what they viewed as “civilized” arts in Dakota and Ojibwe women’s sewing circles in the 1830s. By 1904, a program started by Episcopal missionary Sybil Carter that involved women at the White Earth, Red Lake and Leech Lake reservations was shipping Native-made lace to wealthy customers in cities like New York City, Boston and Philadelphia.

Ojibwe women at Leech Lake, 1906

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Military shirt worn by Sgt. Shirley Quentin Red Boy 1940s

Shirley Quentin Red Boy (Wambdi Okiceta, 1921-2007) enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940. He served in the all-Native Company B of the 163rd Infantry, 41st Division where he and his friend Herman Red Elk were recruited to send official messages in Dakota language.

Sgt. Red Boy received many medals and honors for his service, and was a lifelong member of the Native American Veterans Association Wolf Point.


Military uniform shirt, cat # 265172.000. ​Worn by Sgt. Shirley Quentin Red Boy, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes (Dakota), 1940s. Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution.

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