The Department of Ethnology, Sam Noble Museum is currently working with the Osage Tribal Museum to support an expanded discussion of Osage wedding practices and their associated material culture over the past 150 years. An examination of ethnographic, historic and photographic documentation supports the reconstruction of a system of arranged marriages comprising genealogical research, social negotiation and reciprocal economic exchange. The major commodities of exchange in Osage weddings focused on food, horses and elaborate bridal outfits. The latter provide an important example of the incorporation of European trade items as significant status markers within traditional Native American contexts. As the traditional wedding practices of the Osage were supplanted by Euro-American patterns in the mid-20th century the material culture of Osage weddings was incorporated into the Osage Elonshka Society. This process provides an example of the re-chartering of previous material relationships and their associated symbolic referents within a new social context.
Our intent is to support a highly collaboration process predicated on regular community participation in the development of the exhibition and its content. Our approach includes co-sponsoring a range of programs with the Osage Tribal Museum and the Wah-zha-zhi Cultural Center.
Please visit the project website: http://osageweddings.com/