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The Host



Host Piece for OctoberNovember, and December
 Ethnography Collection


Sioux people
Ca. 1944
Sewn in leather with beads, vegetable fiber, and red feathers
27.5 x 20 x 11cm
Code ICANH: 44-VII-4924
Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History

North American Sioux Moccasins

These shoes were made by the indigenous Sioux people, also known as the Dakota, Nakota, or Lakota, who inhabited a vast territory extending from southern Canada to the northern United States of America and currently reside on more than a dozen North American indigenous reserves. Sioux women are responsible for assembling the traditional homes known as tepees and for manufacturing clothing and footwear from buffalo, elk, rabbit, or coyote skins. They are best known for the loafer-type footwear they make, known as moccasins —from the indigenous Powhatan word makasin—, whose main characteristic is the absence of buckles, laces, or other fastenings.

Moccasins are made from raw animal skin, sewn with tendons, and embroidered with grains, seeds, and other elements according to abstract patterns that symbolize the natural forces and elements through which spiritual energy is channeled.  This pair of moccasins belongs to the ethnography collection of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History and may possibly have been added to said collection through exchanges with institutions from different American and European countries carried out by the National Ethnological Institute during the 1940s and 1950s.

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