Originally featured in Points West magazine in Summer 2013
Nineteenth-century warriors of the Plateau and Northwestern Plains sometimes wore shirts with perforations for ceremonial and formal occasions. Such shirts signified membership in a military society that prepared men for battle and honored their victories. This Ni-mii-puu (Nez Perce) punctured shirt dates to around 1850 and is made of tanned hide, pigment, glass beads, human hair, and sinew.
The shirt is one of more than eighty items on view in the new Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Gallery of the Plains Indian Museum. The new gallery features exclusively objects from the Paul Dyck Collection, which dates from the late 1700s to the 1900s. Long recognized as the most historic and important privately-held collection of Plains Indian artifacts, artwork, and related materials in the world, it became part of the Center’s collection in 2007.
Punctured shirt. ca. 1850. The Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe. NA.202.1209