Views on Collecting: Multiple Meanings and Perspectives Surrounding Lower Colorado River Yuman Women's Beaded Capes
AuthorBrooks, Katherine Elizabeth
AdvisorStoffle, Richard W.
Committee ChairStoffle, Richard W.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examines the tradition of beaded capes among the Lower Colorado River Yuman groups, with the goal of understanding the meaning and cultural significance that the capes held in the past and continue to hold for those that wear and create them today. Questions posed by this study ask how and to whom do beaded capes hold meaning; and why were the beaded capes overlooked by collectors if they are culturally significant? As a marker of River Yuman identity and artistic expertise, the lack of historic beaded capes that are held within museum collections is surprising, with only twenty-two museums across the United States and Europe housing a composite total of fifty-eight River Yuman beaded capes. This study attempts to answer the proposed questions by conducting interviews with River Yuman beadworkers and community members, regarding their perspectives on the meanings and symbolism presented by beaded capes, and the cultural significance of these items. In contrast, this study examines the views of Euro-American collectors that were collecting beaded capes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when others were not. An understanding of outsider perspectives and motivation for collecting beaded capes is achieved through analysis of collector's field notes, journals, and museum accession files. Combining ethnography, archival research, and museum collections-based research, this study seeks to present a more detailed understanding of the River Yuman beaded cape as a marker of gender and ethnic identity. This research addresses the existing voids in knowledge about the cultural significance that the beaded capes hold for Quechan (Yuma) and Pipa Aha Macav (Mojave) people, and introduces that information to outsiders, creating a record of the views of River Yuman community members on the contemporary meanings that the beaded capes hold.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
American Indian Studies