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So Many Bags, so Little Known: Reconstructing the Patterns of Evolution and Distribution of Two Algonquian Bag Forms

Kate C. Duncan
Arctic Anthropology
Vol. 28, No. 1, Art and Material Culture of the North American Subarctic and Adjacent Regions (1991), pp. 56-66
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40316292
Page Count: 11
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So Many Bags, so Little Known: Reconstructing the Patterns of Evolution and Distribution of Two Algonquian Bag Forms
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Abstract

Among the firebags so frequent in North American Indian collections, two forms—the panel bag and the tabbed bag called an octopus bag—are dominant. Both became strongly established in the nineteenth century among Algonquian speakers in the central Subarctic. Some also moved westward across the continent with their originators, particularly the Cree and Cree-Métis, exciting admiration and in several regions, imitation. This paper establishes pre-nineteenth century roots for both bag forms. It examines each in its classic central Subarctic version and outlines its diachronic and geographic distribution, describing the variants which were produced in the Great Lakes, the Plains, the Plateau, and on the Northwest Coast.

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