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REDress Special.

A special was held at the 2019 Bozeman, Montana Powwow to bring attention to the REDress Project to raise awareness of missing and murdered Native women in the US and Canada where the crimes and missing persons cases go largely unreported. While discussing the fashion aspects of this contest, it is important to reflect on the origin and meaning of the REDress Project.

Alicia Ault of Smithsonian.com writes:

"Native women are disproportionately affected by violence. A 2016 study by the National Institute of Justice estimated that 84% of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime compared to 71 % of non-Hispanic white women.

In 2016, 5,712 American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls were reported missing, which is likely the tip of the iceberg, since only 116 were officially recorded in the U.S. Department of Justice's missing persons database, according to a 2018 study by the Urban Indian Health Institute, a division of the Seattle Indian Health Board.

The notion that there is so much silence around the deaths and disappearances of so many native women is excruciating to Jaime Black. The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based artist--a member of the Metis Tribe--created the REDress Project as an expression of her grief and her feeling of connectedness to fellow indigenous women."

A striking solid red dress helps express the simple beauty of this outfit. The bead work is beautiful for its lack of complexity. Straight forward designs are easy for the eye to interpret, drawing attention to the complexity of her beautiful hair ties. Suspended from her long braids are brass conchos and an intricately beaded medallions which are connected by a series of beads and turquoise stones. These beads keep the hair ties from flying around as she spins. The mix of exposed material and brass spots on the cape create a contrast of materials and textures. Her belt is a painted, floral tooled leather belt with a silver western style buckle. Also note that this dancer has marabou fluffs that are attached to her beaded leggings.

Beaded running horses and traditional beaded tipi designs decorate the cape and leggings of this outfit that has been executed in 3 cut beads. Long otter braid wraps are decorated with impeccable red ribbons and beaded hair ties. Her leather belt is decorated with brass domed and flat spots, providing a contrast of shapes in the design. Every red detail has been considered, her bright red lipstick, the fringe on her shawl even the binding on her bead work reminds the watcher of the meaning and importance behind the REDress movement.

by Craig Jones Photographs by Brian Fraker

Caption: Carol Melting Tallow is a champion shawl dancer and wears a red dress and matching shawl. The dress is unique in that it has a flowing skirt that is sewn over a more fitting skirt that levitates as she twirls to the beat of the drum. This exposes the ribbon detail of the underskirt that compliments the rest of her outfit. From her braids she is wearing dentalium hair ties that are suspended from her beaded hair ties. Dentalium shell earrings and hair ties have become increasingly popular as people have started to use this material again. Her belt is made of painted rawhide, which has become a common medium for women's belts and other wearable articles. The designs compliment the flowers in her bead work. Her beaded pieces are a mix of roses and geometric designs. One of the very interesting features is the yellow scalloped effect created with an edge beading technique at the edges of her bead work.

Caption: Beautiful pastel rainbow bead work is the showstopper on this outfit. Expertly executed, the bead work is designed with subtle color changes and lanes of bead work that contour nonlinear aspects of the beaded pieces like the opening in her cape. There are many unique features to this bead work, including her beaded rope choker, an old style of choker not seen very often. Her earrings are a mix media of stamped silver discs, decorated with bead work and a scalloped edge beading effect. From her hair ties she has long white ermine hides and decorating her beaded leggings are white marabou fluffs. This is a feature not previously noticed as decoration on women's leggings. Its explanation may be a simple as creating movement that catchers a watcher's eye.
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Author:Jones, Craig
Publication:Whispering Wind
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jul 1, 2019
Words:733
Previous Article:Powwow Dates.
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