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Susette La Flesche's Wedding Dress

A prominent Native American activist

When Susette La Flesche (1854–1903), a well-established crusader for Native American causes, married Thomas Tibbles in 1881, she wore this fashionable two-piece woolen wedding dress, exquisitely trimmed with silk, satin, and lace. Tibbles, a reporter for the Omaha Herald, shared her outrage at the forced removal of the Ponca from their homelands in Nebraska to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). When in 1879 the Ponca chief, Standing Bear, was imprisoned for leaving Indian Territory without the permission of the U.S. government, La Flesche joined a campaign to fight for his release, which included a petition arguing for the right of the Ponca to remain in their homeland. The trial that ensued led not only to the release of Standing Bear from prison but also to one of the country’s major civil rights decisions—that “an Indian is a person within the meaning of the law of the United States” and has the right to legal redress before the courts.

Woman's wedding dress/outfit

slideshow with 5 slides
Date created
1881
See related items
Omaha
Ceremonial/Ritual items
On View
NMAI, New York, NY: Infinity of Nations, Plains & Plateau
Catalog Number
25/2192
Barcode
252192.000
Collection History
Made for Susette LaFlesche (Inshata Theumba [Bright Eyes], Omaha, 1854-1903) for her 1881 marriage to Thomas H. Tibbles (1840-1928, a journalist and Indian-rights activist); kept by Thomas Tibbles and inherited by his daughter from a previous marriage, May (Mary) Tibbles Barris (Mrs. James Allen Barris, 1870-1942); inherited by May Tibbles' son Chester K. Barris (1898-1956); inherited by his widow, Vivien Keltner Barris (1906-1990), and daughter, Dr. Joan B. LaNoue (Joan LaNoue Lippincott); donated to MAI by Mrs. Vivien K. Barris and Dr. Joan B. LaNoue in 1984.
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Culture/People
Omaha
Previous owner
Susette LaFlesche (Inshata Theumba [Bright Eyes]/Suzette LaFlesche Tibbles/Mrs. Thomas Tibbles), Omaha, 1854-1903
Thomas H. Tibbles, Non-Indian, 1840-1928
May Tibbles Barris (Mary D. Tibbles/Mrs. James Allen Barris), Non-Indian, 1870-1942
Chester K. Barris, Non-Indian, 1898-1956
Vivien K. Barris (Mrs. Chester K. Barris/Vivian Barris), Non-Indian, 1906-1990
Dr. Joan B. LaNoue (Joan Barris Lanoue/Joan Lanoue Lippincott), Non-Indian
Donor
Vivien K. Barris (Mrs. Chester K. Barris/Vivian Barris), Non-Indian, 1906-1990
Dr. Joan B. LaNoue (Joan Barris Lanoue/Joan Lanoue Lippincott), Non-Indian
Place
Nebraska; USA
Object Name
Woman's wedding dress/outfit
Media/Materials
Wool cloth, cotton cloth, silk cloth, lace, mother-of-pearl buttons
Techniques
Sewn, lined
Dimensions
76 x 101 x 112 cm
Data Source
National Museum of the American Indian
Object Type
Ceremonial/Ritual items
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws67b541ada-28e0-4728-9681-cbc45ad730e7
Record ID
NMAI_267997
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