A bag worth a pony The art of the Ojibwe bandolier bag

Marcia G. Anderson, 1949-

Book - 2017

"Bandolier bags, or gashkibidaaganag--the large, heavily beaded shoulder bags made and worn by several North American Indian tribes around the Great Lakes--are prized cultural icons. Marcia G. Anderson shares the results of thirty years of study, in which she learned from the talented bead artists who keep the form alive, from historical records, and from the bags themselves. Anderson examines the history, forms, structure, and motifs of the bags, giving readers the tools to understand a bag's makeup and meaning. She also offers a tour of Minnesota's seven Ojibwe reservations, showing the beautiful beaded bags associated with each along with the personal insights of six master beadworkers."--Provided by publisher.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 970.3/Ojibwa Checked In
St. Paul, MN : Minnesota Historical Society Press [2017]
Main Author
Marcia G. Anderson, 1949- (author)
Physical Description
265 pages : illustrations (some color), color maps ; 28 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 254-258) and index.
  • A bag worth a pony. Gashkibidaagan : an introduction ; Forms, construction, and styles ; Design influences and motifs ; Gashkibidaaganag in photographs ; Handicraft and commerce
  • Reservation stories. Bois Forte ; Fond du Lac ; Grand Portage ; Leech Lake ; Mille Lacs ; Red Lake ; White Earth
  • Appendix 1. Bandolier bags at the Minnesota Historical Society
  • Appendix 2. Bandolier bag care, handling, storage, and cleaning
  • Appendix 3. Bags in other collections.
  • Featured bead artists: Ellen Bushman Olson
  • Marcie McIntire
  • Melvin Losh
  • Maude Kegg and Batiste Sam
  • Cheryl Benjamin Minnema
  • Sophia Smith
  • Ivy Ailport.
Review by Choice Review

Bright red, green, and blue beads in geometric and floral patterns on shoulder bags being danced by Ojibwe men. This is what the reader first sees when opening Minnesota Historical Society curator Anderson's wonderful new book about the gashkibidaaganag (Anishinaabe beaded bags) held in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. One can quickly see why Anderson has worked with these culturally significant pieces for over 30 years, and how her dedicated research has produced sophisticated and nuanced scholarship as well as a model for how museum collections can be fruitfully reanalyzed so readers can hear the history and continuing cultural vitality of Native peoples. As Anderson deftly demonstrates, the pieces communicate much about Ojibwe culture, how art is used on a daily basis and in special events, the historical experiences of each community, Anishinaabe-Euroamerican economic and political relations, and how the storied bags moved from makers to a museum. The book's second half contains fascinating stories from knowledgeable individuals and beadwork artists residing at 12 different Anishinaabe communities. These stories are as important as the bags, for they show that the bags are living expressions of Anishinaabe culture. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries. --Nancy J. Parezo, University of Arizona

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

The Great Lakes region of North America is home to the Ojibwe people and their many bands, comprising one of the largest groups of indigenous people north of the Rio Grande. Their contributions to Native American craft include birch bark canoes and quill and bead work. Anderson, who for 30 years was curator of the Minnesota Historical Society's three-dimensional collections, has created a well-researched, beautifully illustrated history of the bandolier bags of the Ojibwe people. Known as gashkibidaaganag in the Ojibwe language, these bags are made from elaborate beadwork and represented status within the tribe. The bags, with a wide beaded strap to be worn across the body, were created mostly by women but worn by men during significant events and ceremonies. While one bag showed status, two bags with straps crossed over the chest was a symbol of great importance. The beadwork was elaborate with different motifs: flowers, geometric patterns, and symbols associated with the tribe. There are numerous color illustrations of bags, both historical and contemporary, and many photographs of Ojibwe proudly wearing them. VERDICT A wonderful introduction to an aspect of Native American art many may not be aware of.-Sandra Knowles, South Carolina State Lib., Columbia © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.