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Native Arts of the Columbia Plateau: The Doris Swayze Bounds Collection of Native American Artifacts

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Price: $29.95
Item Number: 8029597673
Colorfully beaded handbags, superbly tanned and decorated deerskin shirts, finely woven baskets, exquisitely beaded and fringed horse trappings -- these distinctive Native arts of the Columbia River Plateau have been overshadowed in the public eye by the arts of the Northwest Coast, Great Plains, and American Southwest. But Indians in the region where present-day Washington, Oregon, and Idaho share boundaries have for centuries combined function and beauty in the items they made for even the most mundane of uses, and their traditional arts are still vital today.

This book brings overdue recognition to the artistry and craftsmanship of the Plateau Indians by focusing on the remarkable collection amassed by the late Doris Swayze Bounds, a banker in Hermiston, Oregon, who grew up with and deeply loved Native people and their culture. She was loved in return, and many of the nearly 1,000 Plateau items in her collection came to her as gifts from her Indian friends, who expressed their respect and affection through the time-honored tradition of gift-giving.

Exposed to Euro-Americans relatively late, the Plateau Indians managed to retain many of their traditional lifeways of fishing, hunting, and gathering, as well as a vigorous ethic of generosity and respect for others. The pieces in the Bounds collection, which date mainly from the 1870s to the 1960s, reflect all these aspects of Plateau culture. They range from sturdy baskets made to hold roots or berries to elaborately beaded elkhide “tail dresses” worn on festive occasions.

In five essays, both Native and non-Native experts describe the art styles and the uses and cultural meanings of the items; two other recount Doris Bound’s life, collecting practices, and relationships with Native Americans. The essays are handsomely illustrated with items from the Bounds collection. This book offers and introduction to this visually stunning art tradition.

University of Washington Press, 1998.
Paperback, 136 pages.

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