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Buffalo Robe Project

Fall 2012 | Archives

Buffalo Robe Project

In 2010, a buffalo hide was gifted to MCC by artist and professor Steve Tamayo
to commemorate the 20th Annual Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow. This generous gesture marked the start of MCC’s extraordinary Buffalo Robe Project, a
six-month cross-disciplinary project that engaged students, faculty, staff and community members.

buffalo robe

The idea to paint a traditional Native American winter count on the hide detailing the fascinating history of MCC’s Fort Omaha Campus and its role in the 1879 landmark human rights trial of Chief Standing Bear kicked off a summer of educational workshops and courses explaining winter counts, the art of the Plains Indians and how educators can incorporate these topics into their curriculum.

The project officially commenced with a smudging ceremony—an experience Susan Healy, MCC art history instructor, would label as her most memorable teaching experience to date.

“Seeing a group of MCC faculty, staff, students and community members come together to acknowledge the importance of the ritual and the project was very exciting,” she said. “Students loved it, and I love to see students enjoy learning and doing so by experience rather than hearing second-hand.”

Students painted the winter count on the hide in July at KANEKO.

The project will culminate with the unveiling of the robe at the 21st Annual Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow on Saturday, Sept. 22. For more information on the Powwow, visit www.mccneb.edu/intercultural. The buffalo hide will then be displayed in a glass case on MCC’s Fort Omaha Campus.

This project was made possible with the support of the Nebraska Humanities Council. Additional thanks go to: MCC’s Institute for Cultural Connections, MCC’s Foundation, KANEKO, Steve Tamayo, Janet McCarthy, Bob Maass, Richard Hart, Tom McDonnell, Omaha’s public art committee, Barbara Velazquez and
Susan Healy.

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