Tribal College Art Students to Replicate Artifacts
Found by Lewis and Clark
The United Tribes Technical College’s Art and Art Marketing program has been contracted by a Virginia foundation to replicate artifacts collected by Lewis and Clark and given to President Thomas Jefferson.
Six students enrolled in the college program will use a mix of high-tech equipment and ancient craftsmanship to replicate 16 items, including American Indian war clubs, arrows, a shield, lance and tomahawk, says Wayne Pruse, chairman of the art program.
The college was approached by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation to do the work. The items were collected during the Lewis and Clark expedition 200 years ago, but the whereabouts of the originals is a mystery, Pruse says.
Jefferson “died deeply in debt and they auctioned off a lot of stuff. They haven’t been able to find much of it,” he says.
The items will be added to the permanent collection at Monticello, Jefferson’s plantation home near Charlottesville, Va., Pruse says. A plaque at the museum will list the names of the students involved in the project.
“It’s an honor to do the work,” says Thomas Black Hawk Jr., one of six students involved in the project.
The artifacts will be made from raw materials collected along the Missouri River and fashioned using some of the same techniques American Indians used centuries ago, Pruse says.
Pruse, along with the project’s co-coordinator, Butch Thunder Hawk, will research the artifacts and others from the era at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University and Monticello. They will also rely on the Lewis and Clark journals and pieces from other museums to lend authenticity to the pieces.
Pruse says the key will be making the pieces look old. Each piece must pass an inspection by a curator at the Smithsonian Institution, he says.
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