patkit awe

patkit awe


The most striking is part of this patkitawe (diadem) probably this deer hair. This standing comb around theoutside, along the top, is all deer tail, white tail deer that has been dyed red. This example was dyed with cleaver root. The porcupine quills are black are dyed with a mixture of black walnut and iron dust. Multiple techniques are used in the creation of the patkitawe, the roached hair is tied in a linear fashion, using a loom, and taking little pinches of deer hair, folded over and then tied each individual section of hair to the loom. 

Often roaches are seen going on the back of the hair, versus all around as seen in this headpiece. To make this patkitawe, you use what would work out to approximately eight roaches worth of deer hair. Another technique used in the creation of the patkitawe is the use of quillwork. Talon used a plaited quillwork technique where using a loom he ran two strands and weave back and forth the porcupine quills to create the pattern. Strips like these would traditionally be used for straps on bags, or on neck knife sheaths, used a decoration for hanging deer tail cones and other things. 

A unique decorative element is the woodpecker scalp, with the beak attached and some hawk breast feathers, standing up in front for this very beautiful and decorative adornment. Overall while Talon was familiar with aspects of the individual pieces of the patkitawe, putting them all together to create this beautiful example of a historic patkitawe was a first for him. 

So, this particular diadem is meant for a neenaw’to, a warrior, or specifically a war captain. An elected war chief would have a diadem like this. Because this woodpecker is also a warrior, and so is the hawk, these are two of our Neenaw’to birds, they're warrior birds.

These symbols, the things that go into it are all reminiscent of that status. There are diadems that are meant for people who speak, you know people who go out and talk to folks, hokima (chief).  These patkitawe, they're little bit like a military uniform, like your dress blues, they serve a specific purpose. They would be worn and used by elected war chiefs in kimaawaskaawepe (our council), in council or when going out to meet with other people, you know these are symbols of their office. Just like politicians and world leaders will wear their signs of office, Shawnee leaders and war chiefs would wear their patkitawe when wearing their symbols of office or position. 

There are peace chiefs and war chiefs, and your elder women - your head women. There are these motherly voices that are running the show and authority flows from them.  And then mayaawin’ke kite namaci, the left and the right hands, that actually do the work of the community. Those war chiefs and peace chiefs are the seat, those hokima, they're the external voice of the community, and so when they go and talk to other nations, when they go and meet and council with people, their symbols, the things that are unique to them are worn at that time.