Stands Holy

Limited Edition Print on Canvas

36″ x 24″ | $450

The simple bead has held a special place among Native American tribes for much of American history.  Columbus remarked on the enthusiasm with which strands of beads were accepted during his first contacts, and the importance of beads as trade goods remained undiminished for centuries.  Native peoples strung beads into necklaces, used them as currency, and appliqued them upon garments, creating some of the most spectacular leather finery in the world. 

The traditional dress of High Plains woman consisted of two skins of elk, deer, or bighorn sheep.  The skins were sewn at the top with a hole for the head.  The tail was folded over at the shoulder and hung down the front.  This was later represented by the beaded U-shaped design on the center of the bodice.  Its symbolic interpretation, however, is said to be of a turtle rising from a blue lake.  The turtle is traditionally linked with the reproductive functions of women and was protective in the areas of childbirth and infancy. 

Fully beaded dresses, such as this one, frequently weighed 15 to 20 pounds, and were never used for everyday apparel, but only for important or festive occasions.  Such extensively beaded pieces such as the dress, leggings, and moccasins were produced during the Reservation Period when time for sedentary activity was ample. 

Beautiful and proud, Stands Holy is a perfect example of Sioux womanhood.  This young woman was raised to revere the traditions and beliefs of her tribe, and pass those ways along to her children, just as her father did – the famous Sioux chief, Sitting Bull.