The Cahuilla Continuum was an exhibit at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum in Riverside, California, authored and curated by Sean C. Milanovich. The exhibit told the story of the Cahuilla from creation to the present day. One of the displays in the exhibit shows modern Cahuilla ceremonial clothing and regalia.
According to the display:
“Men who are Cahuilla bird singers today commonly wear what are referred to as ‘ribbon shirts.’ These shirts are not necessarily distinctive to Cahuilla culture in particular. A lot of men from North American tribes wear ribbon shirts as part of their traditional practice.”
Shown above are some ceremonial rattles. Shown above are some ceremonial gourd rattles. The rattle (pá’ayal) on the right was made by Louie Marcus in 1930. The two rattles on the left were made by Cahuilla artist Gerald Clarke in 2014. Shown above is a woman’s dance blouse and skirt made by Elka Medina about 2009. Shown above is a woman’s dance blouse and skirt made by Emma Smith about 2010.
According to the Museum display:
“The outfits worn by Cahuilla bird dancers today are commonly referred to as ‘ribbon dresses’ or ‘bird dresses.’ The dresses can be perceived as homage to the clothing worn by female ancestors who lived during the post-European contact era in the mid to late 1800s.”
Indians 101 is a series exploring American Indian cultures, arts, histories, and current concerns.