Apsáalooke Women and Warriors

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary

Requires Discovery or All-Access Pass

Closes Jul 18, 2021

All ages


Requires Discovery or All-Access Pass

Closes Jul 18, 2021

All ages

Celebrate bravery and beauty with the Apsáalooke people.

Warriors who are fearless in battle. Powerful women who are keepers of war shields and their stories. Beaders, artists, mothers, two-spirited people. Hear their voices and many others in Apsáalooke Women and Warriors

In this exhibition, learn about the history, values, and beliefs of the Apsáalooke (Ahp-SAH-luh-guh) people of the Northern Plains, also known as the Crow. Understand and honor the tradition of “counting coup”—performing acts of bravery. From 100-year-old war shields to contemporary beadwork and fashion, Apsáalooke community members tell their stories and share vibrant works of art. 

Apsáalooke scholar Nina Sanders guest curated this exhibition with the support of the Apsáalooke Nation and Native artists and scholars.  

Ahó! Iitchiik dalóom! It is good you are here!

The exhibition is presented in both English and Spanish, with select sections also in Apsáalooke. La exhibición está presentada en inglés y español, con algunas secciones en apsálooke. 

Title image: Sacred Under the Cliff of Yellowstone © Ben Pease 

A round shield painted with a red figure in the center and a black background. Feathers and the head of a bird are tied onto the shield.

Warriors made battle shields, while women are the keepers of the shields. Wraps Up His Tail made and owned this shield, which depicts one of the Apsáalooke divine twins.

Experience the vitality of Apsáalooke art and culture.

Exhibition highlights:

  • Seven shields from the Field’s collection that have never been displayed before

  • Historical cultural materials including war shirts, elk tooth dresses, and cradleboards

  • A nine-foot-tall modern tipi with a door painted by Mona Medicine Crow

  • Beaded regalia by Lydia Falls Down, displayed on a life-size horse model

  • B.Yellowtail fashion originals inspired by historic Apsáalooke collections 

Four women dressed in Apsáalooke attire stand in front of the Field Museum.

From left to right: Phenocia Bauerle, Charmaine Hill, Nina Sanders, JoRee LaFrance.

© Adam Sings In The Timber

I hope this exhibition helps people to honor their own cultural experiences in new ways and to identify with Indigenous people, to realign ourselves as Americans and understand that this is a very diverse country.

Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), curator

Listening to many stories

For many years, Native American communities weren’t given the opportunity to tell their own stories in museums. Apsáalooke Women and Warriors is a step in a new direction. 

Working alongside curator Nina Sanders, 18 Apsáalooke collaborators bring their knowledge and artistry to this exhibition—including beadwork, clothing, video animation, painting, and photography. Dozens more shared their ideas, memories, and family histories to shape the making of Apsáalooke Women and Warriors

Watch as bead artist Elias Not Afraid creates a bag that's on display in the exhibition. Elias taught himself to bead when he was 12, taking apart his grandmother’s leggings to learn the two-needle applique method by reassembling them. From there, he sought out harder techniques and designs to test himself. Elias is constantly experimenting and evolving: “I want to modernize the craft while still observing traditional aesthetics.”

Contributing artists and researchers include: 

  • Phenocia Bauerle, scholarly consultant

  • Della Bighair-Stump, fashion designer

  • Aaron Brien, scholarly consultant and filmmaker 

  • Del Curfman, painter

  • Bethany Yellowtail, fashion designer

  • Jason Garcia, illustrator

  • Karis Jackson, beadwork artist

  • Allen Knows His Gun, painter

  • JoRee LaFrance, scholarly consultant

  • Marty Lopez, filmmaker

  • Timothy McCleary, scholarly consultant

  • Mona Medicine Crow, painter

  • Supaman, musician

  • Elias Not Afraid, beadwork artist

  • Ben Pease, sculptor and painter

  • Birdie Real Bird, beadwork artist and scholarly consultant

  • Kevin Red Star, painter

  • Nina Sanders, curator

  • Adam Sings In The Timber, photographer

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