Who's that Lady?
May 25, 2010 10:57 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify this figure from the Eastern Woodlands and Plains Indians hall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

On a recent visit to the AMNH, I came across an exhibit that I found interesting. Unfortunately, the picture that I took of it didn't turn out very well, and I'd like to find a better picture online. The exhibit featured a model of a Native American woman with white painted skin, holding two staffs, with a fur hood. I think she was labeled as "The White Woman". There was a model of a man whose skin was painted bright red next to her in the display case. I think it was part of the Shamanism section of the hall. I am hoping the hivemind can help me identify the figure and possibly provide links to better photographs.
posted by Dilemma to Society & Culture (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This White Woman is captioned "Highest officer of the Arapaho women's Buffalo society."
posted by mumkin at 12:29 AM on May 26, 2010

This book (unfortunately only partly viewable on Google books) appears to be describing either the exhibit itself, or perhaps a portrait photo or painting that served as inspiration for the exhibit.
The White Woman was the key figure in the ceremonies of the Arapaho women's Buffalo Society in the earlier part of the 19th century. Her regalia consists of a headdress of swan and goose feathers and down, white weasel skins and buffalo horns; and a wide belt beaded with crosses and bars, hung wit hbuffalo tails, white feathers, and the skins of whip-poor-will and poor-will birds. Her ceremonial dress is decorated with painted symbols and beadwork, and her leggings and moccasins are typical of the fine craftsmanship of the Arapaho. She holds a whilstle in her mouth, and carries two wooden poles awhich were used to imitate the pounding of buffalo hooves during the ceremony.
posted by drlith at 4:05 AM on May 26, 2010

mumkin, that's her! I wish I could find a fantastic picture.
posted by Dilemma at 11:06 PM on May 27, 2010

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