Video Tells Fascinating Story of Pawnee Bear Claw Necklace

Recently, curator John Lukavic shared the story of a Pawnee bear claw necklace in the Denver Art Museum's Native arts collection with Steven Zucker, co-founder and executive editor of Smarthistory. Watch the video to hear their conversation and learn more about the history of this remarkable object.

The bear claw necklace is on view in Stampede: Animals in Art.

...the wearer of this [was believed to have] the power of the bear to protect them [and] their community from enemies in warfare as well as from sickness and disease.

– John Lukavic, curator of Native arts at the Denver Art Museum
gallery view of bear claw necklace in Stampede
Pawnee bear doctor, Necklace, pre-1870, remade in 1920, grizzly bear claws, otter fur, silver, nickel, silk, seed. Native arts acquisition funds in honor of Norman Feder, 1973.247. Photo courtesy and copyright Steven Zucker.

Carleen Brice edits the blog and On & Off the Wall, the member magazine for the Denver Art Museum. Carleen has been at the DAM since 2013. She recommends visitors don't miss the touchable Ganesha statue on level 2 of the Hamilton Building.

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