Portraits of three Apsáalooke women, Big Medicine Rock (center) and Pretty Shield (right), watch over three war shields in the “Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” exhibit at the Museum of the Rockies on Nov. 28, 2022.
Ben Pease’s 12-foot-tall sculpture, “Future In Our Eyes,” was created for the “Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” exhibit which premiered at the Field Museum in Chicago in March 2020. “Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” is now on display at the Museum of the Rockies through Dec. 31, 2022.
The “Itchiilaxxiash/ Shows Herself Mom Doll” was created by Birdie Real Bird after her mom, Lucy Real Bird, passed away. The doll represents the way how women Lucy’s age used to dress and is on display at the Museum of The Rockies until Dec. 31, 2022.
In 2020, when the “Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” exhibit opened at the Field Museum in Chicago, it was the first major exhibit curated by a Native American scholar and the “largest exhibition pairing historical and contemporary items in the Crow tribe’s history,” according to an article published in the Billings Gazette.
The exhibit was curated by Akbileoosh/Brings the Water, also known as Nina Sanders, an Apsáalooke woman, curator and scholar. In the exhibit, Sanders merges sacred Crow objects with contemporary art, beadwork, music, storytelling, and fashion.
This year, the Museum of the Rockies was chosen to be the first museum to host the exhibit outside of the Field Museum.
Sanders said this exhibit is noteworthy because it allows people to honor another culture “without appropriating or judging or saying that it’s not worthy because it didn’t share Latin language.” She continued, “People are being denied, I think, really important stories and pieces of information that could enrich life in the United States, in Montana, in the Rocky Mountains.”
This is the first time that many of these items have been back in Montana together since they were removed from the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Not all of the objects are historic, however. One of the contemporary pieces in the space is a 12-feet-tall sculpture made by Ben Pease specifically for the exhibit. He said he was inspired to make it after seeing “a sculpture in Chicago of a generalized Indian with stereotyped and inaccurate regalia on.” He sought to correct the mistake and add his own spin.
Pease’s sculpture depicts a man and a woman back-to-back with “all genders in between.”
“Men, women, and those in-between genders should all be represented, considered and loved,” Pease said.
If you would like to see “Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” before it returns to Chicago, it will be on display at the Museum of the Rockies through Dec. 31.
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