Native American women used whatever materials they had to create objects. Hunter Old Elk, the curatorial assistant of the Plains Indian Museum, came across a very square, beaded box. The squareness surprised her and as she observed the object more, she realized the structure was made out of a commodity cheese box.
In the beginning of the 20th century, it was harder to come by materials so they recycled objects. Old Elk said this floral beaded box was made in parts. The artist most likely outlined separate pieces in hide and then connected it to a commodity cheese box.
“They [Native American women] might have been the very first conservationist of the Plains,” said Old Elk.
Museum Minute is a series co-produced with Wyoming Public Media (WPM). A new minute can be heard every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. on WPM.