Native American Photographs by Edward S. Curtis

Wishham girl

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Wishham girl

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Description

The subject is clothed in a heavily beaded deerskin dress of the plains type. The throat is encircled by strands of shell beads of native manufacture, heirlooms which were obtained by the original Wishham possessor from the Pacific slope. Pendant on the breast are strands of larger beads of the same kind, as well as of various kinds brought into the country by the traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company. An indispensable ornament of the well-born person was the dentalium-shell thrust through a perforation in the nasal septum; occasionally, as in this case, two such shells were connected by means of a bit of wood pushed into the hollow bases. Tied to the hair at each side of the face (see the following plate) is another dentalium-shell ornament, which is in reality an ear pendant transferred from the lobe of the ear (where its weight would be inconvenient) to the hair. The head-dress consists of shells, shell beads, commercial beads, and Chinese coins. The coins made their appearance in the Columbia River region at a comparatively early date. This form of head-dress was worn on special occasions by girls between the age of puberty and their marriage.

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Tribe

Wishram Indians

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