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Columbia College Displays Native American Artifacts

Native American beadwork, basketry, kachina dolls and pottery are on display in the Columbia College Rotunda from now through February 4.

These items are part of an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, which were gathered by William Walter of Mountain View, California during the years he spent as an Indian trader in the Southwest. They are from various Southwestern tribes, including mission tribes of southern California and some plains tribes, notably Cheyenne and Apache. The collection was donated to the Columbia College Foundation by Walter in 1974, and has been exhibited annually since then.

Included are Kachina dolls carved in the likeness of various supernatural beings, personifications of different natural forces as invoked by the Hopi and Zuni tribes. Each Kachina expresses the personality of the god it represents in painted wood.

Ten examples of beadwork, dating from the early 1800s to the middle of the 20th century, are also on view. They were made by the Sioux, Cheyenne, and other plains tribes. Tiny seed beads from Czechoslovakia and a string of Bavarian glass beads also demonstrate the extensive trading done with these tribes by early pioneers.

The woven and sewn baskets on display are examples from the Pima, Jicarilla Apache, Hopi, and California Mission Indian cultures. Baskets were used to carry all kinds of foodstuff as well as for cooking. They were made by a variety of weaving and sewing techniques, some fine enough to carry water.

Completing the collection are nine pieces of pottery ranging from a double-spouted wedding vase to a plate depicting a man with a cane. Their dates of manufacture range from 1930 to as late as 1960 and have been identified as the works of four tribes: Hopi, Keresan, Navajo, and Tewa.

The Rotunda is open on Mondays through Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on holidays. There is no charge for admission.