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Grandfathers's Native American Jacket

In Mens Clothing > Mens Coats and Jackets > Show & Tell and Native American > Show & Tell.
Native American Antiques774 of 1418Lost In Luella not knowing more about my antique store buy.Trying to identify these artifacts
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Posted 4 years ago


(1 item)

I inherited this jacket when my Dad died last year. He inherited it from my Mum's Father, the modernist architect Wells Coates. see
Wells was from a Canadian family and lived in Vancouver from 1913 till 1920. He also visited Canada at other times , and died in Van in 1957.

The jacket has thus been in Dads wardrobe since round 1958, so it is at least that old. Family info about it is scant, though there is a suggestion that it was given to Wells as a thank-you by a Native American tribe that he visited at some point. In the 50s he worked on a project for a new Canadian town called Iroquois. Possibly there is a link to the Iroquois tribe though we have no info about that.

Dad regarded the jacket as a precious item and never wore it though he felt that it could perhaps be worn on formal occasions with a dinner jacket dress code. I have no idea if there was any basis for this view, but I have been wearing the jacket which fits me well - as I am in the music business I get the chance to dress up (my aka is Matt Black, see

Last night I was performing in Bristol with DJ Shadow, wearing the jacket, and my partner Jonathon and his lady Safronia noted it. They collect antiques , clothes and interesting stuff as a hobby and suggested that it might be too precious to wear casually and that I get a museum to look at it. I promised them I would check it out, and had a quick surf on Google...after millions of ads on ebay for modern Native American clothing, I found this site. I would be grateful for any info from knowledgeable people as I am now in a quandry as to how to treat this rather wonderful piece of family history.


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  1. Manikin Manikin, 4 years ago
    beautiful can you photo front also ?
  2. Sleniibeadwork Sleniibeadwork, 3 years ago
    Looks like it could be Santee or Cree, but I'd have to see close ups. It looks like it's made from good Indian tan, smoked buckskin. The cut was popular from around the 20's on. Can you tell me if the blue beads are kind of translucent and do the red beads have white centers? If it's in good condition, you should definitely wear it. I have a bag and dress that belonged to my grandmother and myself and daughters have all danced wearing it. I need to do some repair work on the bag, but I have a different one that's from the 20's that I still use as a purse. It was made to wear. Wear it. Enjoy it. Take good care of it & it will give generations to come a chance to use it like the maker intended.

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