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Crow Beaded Moccasins and Leggings

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RTCFA No. NA 0383
Crow Beaded Moccasins and Leggings
Artist: Maggie Pickett-Yellowtail (1894-1956)
Beads, leather, canvas, on commercial sole Leggings: 14.5 in. (36.8 cm). Mocs:10.5 x 4.5 in. (26.6 x 11.4 cm).

Geographic Location: Crow Agency, Montana
Region: Plains
Group / Tribe: tribe: Crow, father: Joe Pickett (Crow) mother: Lucy Blue Cloth (Blood Indian from Alberta).

Description: Pair of beaded moccasins with matching leggings.

Provenance: Lammer's Trading Post, Hardin, Montana. Field collected in August 1989

*Coe wrote:* I bought this Crow legging/moccasin combination from the counter at Lammers' Trading Post in the company of the Fogarty family. It was amongst a large selection of women's moccasins and leggings tied into bundles with a rubber band which could be spied through the glass top of the long counter, arranged in rows. I bent down to look, but Joyce silently pointed to a particular pair and I saw her "point" immediately and asked to have them put on the counter. Quoting myself, "it was tied up with rubber bands in a triple row of about fifty other examples. After looking at it closely on the top of the counter, I bought them for about $275. Maggie Pickett-Yellowtail was one of the finest bead workers at work in the Hardin area during her lifetime. She did some of the tightest spot stitching and had a very sophisticated comment to make on the older, late 19th century white-lined Crow designs. She elongated them into a series of stripes relieved by intervening sky blue beaded parallel zones that not only indicates the 1930s and 1940s, but to which she gave a particular rightness of design and composition. As the Indians would say, "she really got it right." The green, white-lined ribbon-like patterns were relieved at intervals by a double diamond design with white centers and executed in rust or blue that gave a scintillating accent particular to her work. The moccasins were embellished with the same series of devices, but with slightly narrower elements. One has to imagine how elegantly turned out a woman lead dancer would have been wearing such apparel—it must have been breathtaking. Maggie Picket Yellowtail was one-half Blood and one-half Crow Indian, and culturally totally Crow. To this day, the Yellowtail family has an important position on the Crow reservation. Maggie beaded both floral and, as here, geometric designs. This information is partly contained on a color notecard issued by Crow design, Lodge Grass, Montana, which was sent to me by the Fogarty's in 1993. A detail of a legging similar to the present example is pictured on the notecard.