In 1983 and 1993, American Indian Art Magazine featured articles – and photographs – connecting the Native American peoples of California and the California condor. Here’s a look.
Both of the articles are comprehensive and include authoritative citations. My focus here is on the images from these articles.
“The California Collection of I. G. Voznesenski”, from the Summer 1983 issue, is about a substantial collection of Native American cultural objects from central California. These objects were acquired in the early 1840s by Ivan Gavrilovich Voznesenski, a naturalist assigned by the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences to collect botanical and zoological specimens from Russia’s North American colonies.
Below are 3 photos from the article followed by excerpts from their captions. The photos are credited to the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (St. Petersburg, Russia) where Voznesenski’s collection continues to be housed.
Note … condor skin regalia on left …
Dance cape. Approximately 50 cm × 70 cm. California condor, bald and golden eagle feathers, native hemp cordage….
Condor skin dance costume. Nisenan (?)…. Maximum width … approximately 2.75 m….
I found a recent photo of the item just above on the museum’s website (identified in both places as Catalog No. 570-2):
“The California Condor and California Indians” appeared in the Winter 1993 issue of American Indian Art Magazine. Here is the 1st page of that article:
“Maidu Condor Dancer” by Harry Fonseca, 1979. 6″ high … Note the long cloak made of condor feathers attached to a net foundation…. Photograph by Michael Dixon …
I found two photos from this article to be of particular interest:
Fred Magee, Luiseño, holding a condor feather skirt. Photograph by Josephine P. Cook, before 1942….
Wiyot female shaman’s headband, late nineteenth century. Brain-tanned deerskin, bear grass …, condor body feathers, shells, other ornaments…. Photograph by Craig D. Bates.
The author of the 1983 article is Craig D Bates. Bates and 2 colleagues prepared the 1993 article. This note about the authors is from the latter:
Craig D. Bates, Curator of Ethnography, and Martha J. Lee, Museum Registrar, both work for the National Park Service, Yosemite Museum, Yosemite National Park. Janet A. Hamber is Condor Biologist at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
For more on Native American culture and the California condor, see the post Native American cultural objects. For more on Russia and the California condor, see Translating from the Russian.