Spring 2013

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Andrew Finegold


This project consists of a week-long, high school-level unit focused on Lakota beadwork. The lessons cover the changes in method and perception over the past two hundred years. After three days of examining the history of Lakota beadwork, students will analyze the usage of Lakota beadwork and the American Indian image within popular culture and American museums. I have chosen to focus on these two institutions because they have been the most instrumental in shaping the popular understanding of Native American culture. My choice of Lakota beadwork can be traced to my first semester of college, when I took "Africa, Oceania, Americas" with Professor Aronson. Since then I have taken one course per year on Native American art or history. The Lakota resonated with me for their prominent position in American culture as the typical Native American, as well as their tribal gender dynamics and role in the tourist art market. The widespread use of their image to represent the entire American Indian image made them the ideal candidates for studying American Indians through the lens of cultural appropriation. By the end of this unit, students will have a firm understanding of Lakota history and the role of bead work in their society. Students will also have a preliminary understanding of the terms "cultural appropriation" and "cultural hybridity," so they may begin examining their world in a more critical light.


Note: Access to this thesis is restricted to Skidmore community.