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Exploring Ethnicity: 18th Century Native Fashion Day

Alyssa finds out more about this Saturday’s Oneida Nation Arts Program event at the Neville Public Museum…

We all spend a lot of time eating at Mexican restaurants, or maybe watching Bollywood films, or reading about European history. But how often do we delve into the history of our nation? And no, I don’t mean the pilgrims or the Founding Fathers – I’m referring to the rich Native American history that can be found all across the country, and that includes the Fox Cities.

If this is something you’ve never really thought about, the 18th Century Native Fashion Day taking place this Saturday, May 11 may be just the opportunity for you.

Native Fashion Day will be taking place from 11:00am to 4:00pm at the Neville Public Museum, which is located at 210 Museum Place in Green Bay – and it’s free with admission to the museum, thanks to a grant given to the Oneida Nation Arts Program by the Wisconsin State Arts Board.
According to the press release from the Oneida Nation Arts Program, the event will include a slideshow featuring Iroquoian clothing and accessories with commentary by historians, a Menominee clothing exhibit, and live demonstrations for making Oneida baskets and kastowe headdresses. Additionally, the press release highlights that “children can enjoy a scavenger hunt in the ‘Edge of the Inland Sea’ exhibit.”

Because the Oneida Nation is part of the Iroquois Confederacy, the event will revolve around Iroquois clothing in general. According to Oneida Nation Arts Program’s Media Arts Coordinator Sherrole Benton, traditional Iroquois clothing is considered to be an “Eastern Woodland” style, since the Iroquois originally came from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

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When asked what inspired her to begin organizing the day of events, Benton says, ““It’s important to us to inform younger generations about the original aesthetic design in Iroquois clothing and jewelry…[and] the era of 1750-1800 was prolific in how Native Americans adapted trade goods in their own designs.”

Be sure to check out the event – and, better yet, bring your mom for a very unique way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Visit the Oneida Nation Arts Program’s website for additional information.

—By Alyssa Villaire

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