We’re on box #3, which honestly isn’t that far into this amazing collection. The Oliver Jackson collection is not only vast in numbers, but gives an honest depiction of what non-indigenous people thought our culture was. To be honest, this is not a bad thing at all. This man gave the public an Indigenous culture during a time where we, as Indigenous people, were forbidden by the government to not only display our culture in public, but even practice it in private.
So here we have this man that has a genuine appreciation for what Indigenous people are and what he believed they represented. From a young age Oliver had a love for the people and wanted to be a part of their life.
The first thing we pulled out of Box #3 was this amazing hand crafted, and fully beaded vest. This object is a work of pure magic. Every piece of this vest is encompassed by beads that are beautifully and flawlessly etched into the leather. The designs he chose are both elegant and glamorous! I cannot even imagine the time and effort Oliver made to make this single piece. The vest has successfully endured the test of time, as it still displays its shining colors and can still be worn today.
Another piece I wanted to talk about was the turtle rattle we had unboxed. The main based of the rattle is hand carved wood that takes the shape of a snake. Another self-taught skill Oliver had was his hand carving. Of the many pieces we’ve already accessioned, the pieces that he carved are masterfully done.
The main part is made of a preserved turtle shell with deer hooves stitched into the shell. This piece was so creatively put together it was impossible to not talk about. This almost sounds like a customer review of a toy, but this is too good to pass off. I wish I knew the history around creating this piece, and what methods Oliver had used to make it. It`s only once in a blue moon that you come across a piece like this, and still have it in amazing shape. I have no doubts the Laurel Packing House did a fine job accessioning and preserving the piece, but all of Oliver`s works seem to have the attribute to last.