Howard Miller

Spiritual Buffalo Hunt (Pink Suit), 2016
Glass seed beads (size 08/0), rhinestones, and faceted acrylic gemstones hand sewn on canvas. 20‐30 different colors used. Ostrich plume and marabou feather trim.
Suits constructed by some Uptown Tribes utilize flat beaded “patches” which are narrative in nature. There can be as many as eight patches or more on a suit (depending upon the size of the suit). The primary apron is usually the largest patch, worn on the front below the waist. The front apron is counterbalanced by another apron on the back of the suit. The back apron can be hidden by the primary crown and would be visible when the Chief dons a smaller “traveling” crown. This suit (“Spiritual Buffalo Hunt”) consists of the follow pieces: (i) crown; (ii) front apron; (iii) back apron; (iv) shirt; and (v) dickie.
The main apron of this massive pink suit represents the sacred ritual of the Buffalo Hunt. A felled buffalo provided bounty for the tribe – meat for food, the skin for clothing and shelter, the horns used as components for weapons and for ceremonial garments – every part of the animal was utilized. This buffalo scene is surrounded by additional beaded flower broaches and enriched profusely with rhinestones. Medallions, on the under apron, feature pistols with Indian Chief handles and Indian Chief holsters as symbols of a powerful Chief. The vest portrays images of Medicine Men chanting prayer for a successful hunt, bringing great spirit to the tribe. In the middle chest plate, an owl attributes wisdom to the effort. The “dickie”, an expansive collar, repeats stylized flower motifs favored by Chief Howard. The sleeves are a complex construction of graduated embellishments complete with suspended flower medallions. The primary “crown” is the magnificent headpiece consisting of a beaded front portion combined with cascading feathers. Often there are additional beaded details on the back of the crown. Ostrich plumes, which are very responsive to the motion of walking and dancing and the wind, are the preferred feather decoration of Uptown tribes.