Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses

September 26, 2008–February 07, 2010
New York, NY

Dresses are more than simple articles of clothing for Native women—they are aesthetic expressions of culture and identity. Embodying messages about the life of the wearer, dresses offer Native women the opportunity to blend artistic tradition and bold innovation while preparing themselves, their families, and their communities to partake in the "dance of life." Bringing together a vast array of dresses and accessories from the Plains, Plateau, and Great Basin regions of the United States and Canada, Identity by Design highlights Native women's identity through traditional dress and its contemporary evolution. The exhibition examines the individual, communal, and cultural identity of Native women, and explores how women, gifted with highly developed artistic skills, benefited not only their families, but the entire community.

This exhibition was also on view at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., March 24, 2007–August 3, 2008.

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