The story of the “She Bear Ranch “ saddle bags is of a woman who owned her own ranch in South Dakota and named it, “ She Bear Ranch ,“ who was a fighter of Native Woman’s Rights. The bear paw is what she sees to be her own prints as she walks through life, protecting her land and her family. The year 1890 is in heart felt memory of The Massacre of Wounded Knee in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. She is of Lakota Heart.
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This saddlebag is made from buffalo split hide, glass beads sewn and beaded with sinew. On each side (under flap) is a pocket, beaded red, to represent a bear paw claw mark. The button is a stamped U.S. Indian Service Button, made with the original dyes by the official government contractor for these buttons, they are solid brass with the correct antique copper oxide finish. Originally used by Indian scouts and Indian police, inside the pocket is lined with 3 brand broadcloth and 80% wool. First seen among the Osage in the late 1800’s, the plants beaded on the saddlebags are all the plants that bears consume. The “1890” emblem is to remember the Wounded Knee Massacre.
Supaya’s education comes from living on different reservations, Cherokee reservation, Pine Ridge South Dakota Lakota reservation, and the Navajo reservation in Arizona. Learning from elders, seeing and sharing old designs, listening and learning old stories. It was and is a good school for the heart.
Best in Show: Decorative Objects of Art, By Western Hands Invitational 2022