This 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.
|Advisor:||Stoffle, Richard W.|
|Commitee:||Trosper, Ronald L., Zedeno, Maria Nieves|
|School:||The University of Arizona|
|Department:||American Indian Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Cultural anthropology, Museum studies, Native American studies|
|Keywords:||American indians, Beaded capes, Beadwork, Mojave|
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