June 28, 2019

A Study in Inspiration

Well we officially hit the one year anniversary of launching our Native American Jewelry of the Month club. We've had so much fun putting each box together!

For this month, I wanted to offer up a case study of inspiration. There is this magnificent old jingle dress, made by Mary Bigwind from White Earth over 80 years ago, stuck in my mind. It was a simple sleeveless dress, with less than 5 rows of tin cone jingles on black velvet. It’s so chic and elegant, but also, you can feel the healing power vibrating out of the image.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the origin story of the jingle dress - it was borne out of sickness as regalia to accompany a healing dance learned through a vision. The older dresses featured engraved snuff can lids that were recycled and wrapped into cones: the sound they made, as well as the light they reflected, was reminiscent of water lapping on the surface of lakes.

For Ojibwe people, my people, and the originators of the dance, bodies of water were places of importance - journeymen offered tobacco to the waterbeings for a safe travel, fishermen did the same for a prosperous hunt. These lakes housed sacred spirits, who would offer us powerful gifts of copper. The worlds of the human beings, and the other-than-human beings, intertwined.

This month’s box features two strings of fire polished faceted beads in various color combinations, and jingles in either silver, copper, or gold, to pay homage to these stories kept alive by our story keepers, our dancers, our artists, and our singers. Please wear with love in your heart, and confidence in your stance. The ancestors of these lands continue to bless us.

Click here to learn more about Club/BB!