Minnesota woman recreates Native American art from the past


November 24, 2020

Fern Cloud uses uses willow branches, bones and natural paint pigments to make traditional Dakota paintings on tanned buffalo hides. Photo courtesy of Fern Cloud

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. – It was July of 2019 when Fern Cloud first saw the intricately designed tablecloth during the "Hearts of Our People" exhibit at the Minnesota Institute of Art.

Made between 1900 and 1910 by an unnamed Dakota woman, the beaded tablecloth features a starburst, colorful flowers, butterflies and straight lines made with glass and brass beads on wool.

It immediately got the attention of Cloud, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate tribe who is the great-great-granddaughter of Dakota Chief Little Crow. Cloud is also known by her Dakota name Akipawin, which means Branch Woman.



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