Keepers Of tradition
  Introduction        Folk Arts & Heritage Program        Search Archives        Blog
Browse themes:
  passing it on: apprenticeships PreviousNext
Native regalia
Native regalia made by Anita Peters Little, aka Mother Bear, Native regalia, 2006; West Barnstable, Massachusetts;
Native regalia made by Anita Peters Little, aka Mother Bear, Native regalia, 2006

West Barnstable, Massachusetts
Anita Peters Little and Michelle Fernandes being interviewed by Maggie Holtzberg. Photography by Russell Call; Apprenticeship - Native regalia; 2006: West Barnstable, Massachusetts
Detail of paint on deerskin; Apprenticeship - Native regalia; 2004: West Barnstable, Massachusetts
Michelle Fernandes holding up shawl with fringe. Photography by Russel Call; Apprenticeship - Native regalia; 2006: West Barnstable, Massachusetts
verticle bar Artist
Anita Peters Little
West Barnstable, MA
verticle bar apprentice
Michelle Fernandes
Wareham, MA
Anita Peters Little, known within her tribe as Mother Bear, makes traditional Wampanoag regalia using deerskin decorated with paint in traditional designs. Mother Bear is a greatly respected Clan mother in the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Contemporary Wampanoag people wear traditional regalia during ceremonials and other special occasions. Mother Bear's mother was an excellent seamstress from whom she learned a great deal. She also attended the School of Fashion Design in Boston. She has been making regalia for tribal members outside of her Clan for over 20 years. More recently, she has specialized in traditional deer hide regalia rather than fancy or stylized outfits. She has made over 100 regalia for the Wampanog community.

For a spell Mother Bear worked at Plimoth Plantation, but left, having little patience with the questions of ignorant and insensitive visitors. During her time at Plimoth, she made regalia, outfitting 90 Wampanoag men for a National Geographic photo shoot as well as regalia for the Native American interpreters working at the museum's living exhibit called Hobbamock's Homesite.

Mother Bear served as a master artist in a FY05 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship with Michelle Fernandes. They worked on all the necessary skills needed to complete a traditional regalia for use at pow­wows and ceremonies, including how to properly measure, sew, paint traditional designs, and cut fringes. The apprenticeship was particularly meaningful to them: "This program sustains traditional regalia making by passing on skills to provide the next generation with the knowledge of how they are made. The program provided the materials needed and one on one time, which are sometimes financially out of reach for tribal members.
verticle bar Purchase Exhibition Catalogue