Lakota artist
South Dakota
Eagle‑feather bonnet, about 1920
Eagle feathers, tanned deer hide, glass beads, horsehair, ermine, wool cloth
81.5 × 31 1/2 × 27 in. (207 × 80 × 68.6 cm.) installed
Museum purchase
Conservation funded by The Alliance of The Speed Art Museum, 1999

It Sends a Powerful Message
Plains warriors and leaders wore eaglefeather bonnets as symbols of their own personal acts of bravery or the combined war honors of many men in their tribe. Men also wore them in battle to inspire bravery, to remind other men of past war honors, and to summon supernatural powers to defeat their enemies. After tribes were settled onto reservations, battle and its related glories no longer held the same significance. Distinguished men, however, continued to wear eagle-feather bonnets to represent their achievements and to remind people of their tribal histories.