Minnesota author Marcia G. Anderson’s book, “A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag,” is a celebration, an illumination, and a study of the spectacular beaded bags made by the Ojibwe of Minnesota.
Anderson will talk about her book, with time for questions from the audience, during a special author visit presented by East Central Regional Library at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Pine City Public Library. This event is free and open to the public.
Bandolier bags, or gashkibidaaganag—the large, heavily beaded shoulder bags made and worn by several North American Indian tribes around the Great Lakes—are prized cultural icons here and around the world. From the 1870s to the present day, Ojibwe bead artists of Minnesota have been especially well known for their lively, creative designs. Neighboring Dakota people would trade a pony for a beautiful beaded bag.
Over the years, non-Indian collectors and ethnographers, struck by the bags’ cultural significance and visual appeal, bought them up. Today, there are hundreds of bags in museums around the world, but not so many in the hands of community members. In A Bag Worth a Pony, Marcia G. Anderson shares the results of 30 years of study, in which she learned from the talented bead artists who keep the form alive, from historical records, and from the bags themselves.
Anderson, who was curator of the Minnesota Historical Society’s museum collections for 30 years, examines the history, forms, structure, and motifs of the bags, giving readers the tools to understand a bag’s makeup and meaning. She also offers a tour of Minnesota’s seven Ojibwe reservations, showing the beautiful beaded bags associated with each along with the personal insights of seven master beadworkers.
Find the Pine City Public Library at 300 5th St. SE in downtown Pine City. For more information, visit ecrlib.org.
This program is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.