Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 3, Summer 2009, pp. 258-259


Copyright 2009 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


This publication-based on the award-winning reinterpretation and reinstallation in 2000 of the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming-is much more than a catalog of that institution's collections. Founded with the clothing and adornments of the Plains performers who toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows, the museum has since grown with the acquisition of major private collections, and most recently by collecting the work of living Plains artists. Illustrated with color photographs of objects and archival images and illuminated by quotes from interviews, ethnographies, and oral histories, Hansen's volume surveys the cultures of Plains people in six thematic chapters with brief interchapter essays by contemporary Plains scholars and artists Beatrice Medicine, Gerard Baker, Joseph Medicine Crow, Arthur Amiotte, and Bentley Spang.

Hansen addresses the intertwined lives of Plains people and the great bison herds. She notes, however, that the familiar image of Plains culture-made possible by the introduction of the horse-flourished for only a century and a half, ending with the Indian wars of the late nineteenth century. Memory and Vision traces a much longer history of life on the Plains, discussing ancient sacred sites and petroglyphs, the ceremonial use of tobacco, and the "Winter Counts"-graphic, calendrical aids to oral storytelling-produced by Plains men. She addresses the often-overlooked lives of women and children, highlighting Plains women's art and material culture-including architecture, geometric designs on tanned hide robes and parfleches, quillwork, and beadwork-as well as the role of Plains women in a culture and economy based on foraging and horticulture. The lives of Plains children are illustrated with dolls and miniature cradleboards and tipi covers.