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Horton seeking the artists who created “beaded histories”

March 9, 2012
By John Speer - Editor , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

George Horton, Vining, well-known for his wide-ranging interests in history, archaeology and what he tells you is "lots of other stuff" has a bit of a mystery on his hands.

George has, by his own explorations over the years, solved many but continues to encounter a few.

What is holding his interest right now are a pair of old Indian beaded strips - "loomed strips" is a term he calls them.

Article Photos

George Horton displays two Native American beaded strips which he believes are tools for teaching history. He’s looking for information on the artists who created them.
News-Herald/John Speer

They are each about 18 inches or so long. They have handcrafted beadwork with Native American design which George says is representative of Meskwaki work.

He says the Meskwaki bead artists have long been nationally recognized.

One of the strips he believes was done in the mid to late 1920s, the other in the 1950s. George says they both were "winter projects" meaning they were done during the winter months of one season, not added to over a period of years.

In each panel on the strips he identifies a sequence of encoded history he believes important to the Meskwaki people. He points to timeline representations of U.S. citizenship for the Meskwakis and the right to vote for women on the older of the two strips.

He believes they may have been used in teaching.

So with this knowledge, what are George's mysteries?

How did the strips get to where he purchased them? - One at the What Cheer flea market and the other at Sharpless Auction Company at Iowa City.

He says he is plans to talk with some of the women at the Meskwaki Senior Center to attempt to discover who the original artists were and trace the path of the strips.

Horton says he intends to place the two strips in the Meskwaki Exhibit in Iowa Hall on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.



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