Shaman's necklace

Cultural Narrative: 

Though it is unknown when this necklace was originally created or who created it, it is believed to have been owned by a tiwélqe (Bannock) or Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) shaman. The role of the shaman was to help provide medicinal and spiritual aid/healing to members of their community. This necklace is approximately 19 cm total in diameter. It is made from a buckskin string that is beaded with ochre-stained fish vertebrae. Ochre is a naturally occurring clay earth pigment that can be used to color items shades of yellow, orange, brown, or red. Additional items, such as a large multi-colored beaded ball, stones, woodchips, and brass beads, are attached to buckskin strings tied to the necklace base. For this necklace specifically, the attached stones are significant as the holes in the stones were used by the shaman to keep away negative spirits.

Image 1: This photo showcases the shaman's necklace in its entirety and all of the materials comprising the necklace including the ochre-stained fish vertebrae, stones, wood chips, brass beads, and multi-colored beaded ball.

Image 2: This photo highlights the necklace's beaded ball that is attached like a tassel off the necklace base. The ball is made of an unknown material, but is surrounded by strings of small beads in a variety of colors, including red, white, blue, purple, green, and yellow. There are a few additional large brass beads attached to buckskin strings at the end of the tassel.

Image 3: This photo provides a detailed view of the stones attached to the necklace base and the ochre-stained fish vertebrae ""beads"" that comprise the necklace. The two stones are attached to buckskin strings tied to the necklace's base. The black colored stone on the left has two holes in it and the brownish/yellow colored stone on the right has one hole in it. It is believed the holes in the stones were used by the shaman to keep away negative spirits. The ""beads""comprising the necklace are pieces of fish vertebrae stained with ochre, resulting in reddish, brown colored pieces.