RTCFA No. NA0451c
Artist: Joyce Growing Thunder Birth: 1950
Beads, buckskin, metal, glass, 1.5 x 10.5 in. (3.81 x 26.7 cm).
Geographic Location: Ft. Peck Reservation, Montana
Group / Tribe: Assiniboine (Nakota)
/*Jim and Joyce both felt that I needed a more stylish way of presenting myself for Indian affairs: â€œYou really ought to look right.â€ First I was sent the beaded buffalo belt buckle, in the next year (1985) I was told that I spent much too much time looking at my watch and clocks â€œvery whiteyâ€ and the solution to that was to give me a watch, beaded in Indian style, but which had only a blank dial. The idea for this sendup originated soon after Joyce learned I had moved to Santa Fe. Jim telephoned, â€œsince you are going to become a real westerner, Joyce is beading you a watch to keep with you. It will be elegant, she says, but it will have no hands and no face.â€ For a long time I never heard about the watch and one day in a telephone conversation I asked how it was coming along. Jim said, â€œOh, Juanitaâ€™s been wearing that, she has it now down at the movies.â€ â€œCan you send it to me so that it arrives tomorrow,â€ I countered, â€œbecause we want to illustrate it in the catalogue to Lost and Found Traditions, it makes a point about us whiteys.â€ The watch duly arrived and was illustrated on page 37. It became part of the white manâ€™s outfit when I wore it to the opening of Lost and Found Traditions at the American Museum of Natural History in 1986 and subsequently when wearing the outfit, I was to select any medallion that I wanted to wear with a dark turtleneck sweater and the Levi Jacket and beaded belt buckle. The original quilled medallion was traded by Joyce for the coat cited in NA0450c. In recent years, I have ceased to wear this outfit, because I donâ€™t want to damage it. Juanita has already identically replaced the corduroy collar once. We made a trip to the Hobby Lobby in Albuquerque for the material, which is the way Indians operate in real life. I write this because of the way Indian life is associated with â€œnew ageâ€ pap or pseudo spirituality. That repair trip to the Hobby Lobby was real! To me, this outfit retained a western elegance and a dressy informality together with a sly reference to Indianness that allowed me to wear it with no embarrassment. To my astonishment, my caregiver (wingman) Ray Davis found in perusing the Internet a reference to this particular watch and a drawing of it in Hope B. Werness book, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Native Art. One never knows when the Lost and Found Traditions re-surface, since its publication in 1986. From a serious joke and its presentation as a spur to go on Indian time rather than â€œwhitiesâ€ time, it has gained an unexpected currency as an object of time!*/ â€”Ralph T. Coe