Beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear
Now closed

GalleryImage2Created by Indigenous peoples from diverse regions of North America, Beauty, Identity, Pride showcases exquisite craftsmanship, regional patterns, and beautiful decoration. The exhibition features rarely seen artifacts chosen entirely from the Bata Shoe Museum’s foremost and comprehensive collection of Native footwear.  Our collection is one of the world’s most extensive, and we’ve chosen some beautifully crafted examples which will change the way you think about moccasins.


More than ninety pairs of shoes, boots and moccasins will showcase the designs, meticulous methods of creation, culturally distinctive patterns and beautiful decoration of Aboriginal peoples of the Subarctic, Northeast, Southeast, the Plains, the Great Basin, and the Southwest regions of North America. The exhibition features a vast array of 19th-century moccasins, with several items from the 18th century as well as some 20th-century examples. The exquisite craftsmanship and intricacy of these functional works of art are manifest in sophisticated beading and quillwork, the use of decorative metals, different hides, ribbons and other materials, and regional variations in structural design. Visitors will see up close the techniques and artistry which exemplify the outstanding quality and detail of Native footwear.

For additional information on our Indigenous peoples collection, take a moment to watch this episode from the BSM’s video series The World at Your Feet, as Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack looks at an intricately beaded pair of 19th century children’s moccasins.