Philbrook Museum, Hour 1 Preview | Ruth Muskrat Bronson archive, ca. 1923 | ANTIQUES ROADSHOW | PBS


GUEST: This belonged to my great-great-aunt,
Ruth Muskrat Bronson. She was a civil rights activist. She was an author, a poet, a songwriter, an
educator. To me, she is so special. She was a woman before her time, and she did
a lot of things for Native American people that we can all still be proud of today. APPRAISER: What was her era, so to speak? GUEST: She was born in 1897. This picture was taken in 1923, when she was
a junior in college at Mount Holyoke. And this is at the White House… APPRAISER: Okay. GUEST: …in Washington, D.C. APPRAISER: Can you tell me some of the people
in the picture? GUEST: Yes. This is my aunt, Ruth, and this is President
Calvin Coolidge. And this is a book that she presented to him
that day. And she also gave a speech that day. APPRAISER: Is the dress that you’re standing
by the one she’s wearing in that photograph? GUEST: This is the dress that’s in the photograph,
yes. APPRAISER: And… and that’s the same dress
that’s in this photograph. Were the moccasins and the dress created for
the presidential event? GUEST: That’s my understanding, yes. They were intentionally not Cherokee items
so that she could be representative of more than just her tribe and be representative
of all American Indians. APPRAISER: This is a speech that she delivered
at the White House? Is that right? GUEST: Yes, and to read through that speech,
it gives me goosebumps. She said a lot of really amazing things in
that speech. And she said such amazing things that President
Coolidge invited her to come to the White House for lunch at a later date, which she
did. APPRAISER: When I read through her speech,
in the speech, she tells who made the beadwork, who did these things. And both the moccasins and the dress were
made here in Oklahoma by Cheyenne bead workers. The hides are brain-tan deerskin, which were
never inexpensive. They were always incredibly high-priced to
get them. They were difficult to make. And I thought the moccasins might be Lakota
because of the designs, but then I got to looking, and there’s a welt right here that
goes between them, between the sole and the beaded uppers. You notice that trait in lots of Cheyenne
moccasins from Oklahoma. You know, the southern Cheyennes. Do you know what she was talking to the president
for? GUEST: Well, this was the Committee of 100
in 1923. And I believe she was asking for civil rights
for Native American people APPRAISER: Right. GUEST: and also fighting for Native Americans
in the laws that were be… being created at that time and talking about the “Indian
Problem.” And she wanted the president to hear from
an Indian what the real Indian problem was, and it wasn’t what the other people were calling
the “Indian Problem.” She wanted everyone to accept Native Americans
as Americans and to allow them to be educated just like everyone else. APPRAISER: Yeah, I saw in the letter, she’s
asking for education for all. GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: Where did she live? GUEST: She was from Grove, Oklahoma. APPRAISER: Oh, yeah. GUEST: She was my great-grandmother’s sister,
and that’s where our whole family was from. That’s where our allotment land… we still
have that allotment land. But she… she lived in Washington, D.C. She worked there for the government, for the
B.I.A. And then she retired in Phoenix, Arizona. She was helping different tribes her entire
life. When she passed away, I believe she was in
Arizona, working for water rights for tribes out there. APPRAISER: Oh, yeah. That’s a big deal. GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: She’s asking for what we consider
basic human rights GUEST: Absolutely. APPRAISER: in this country today in the ’20s. And… and after that, you get the Depression,
and things really got bleak. Now, people have awakened to these situations,
but they didn’t do it without a pushback. And that’s why a lot of rules have been passed,
laws have been enacted. Everything from the Native American Sovereignty
Acts to NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Acts and they
protect this cultural patrimony that’s been handed down, in your case through your family,
but also in national input. And this was the early days of all that. These were the people that pushed that to
try to make it happen. When you brought this dress in and the moccasins,
I looked down, and I said, “Yeah, nice moccasins, nice dress.” In this condition, and mainly because they’re
late, if you’re going to see these things at auction, you’d expect them to bring $800
to $1,200. But that’s not what’s here. That’s not what this is about. This is about… this woman wore these things
to represent a panculture almost that spread across the United States, that she was fighting
for, for rights for. When you start looking at it from that point
of view– her meeting with the president, the original speech– I think you’re talking,
for all that you have here– and you have more. You have more archival material, more photographs. If you were to bring these up for insurance,
I think it’s more like $8,000 to $12,000. GUEST: Wow! And these things are priceless to our family. APPRAISER: Oh, I’m sure.

10 Replies to “Philbrook Museum, Hour 1 Preview | Ruth Muskrat Bronson archive, ca. 1923 | ANTIQUES ROADSHOW | PBS”

  1. 0:33 – Thank you sooooo much !!!
    For making us aware that you were talking about the White House in…
    Washington D.C. 🤪
    Not to be confused with a regular white house in Washington State 😂🤣😂

  2. Precious articles to help us remember the American Indian heritage and difficult times that they had in the 1920s and still have today.

  3. Hmmmmm, i think he low balled the value. These items are museum quality and should be put on display temporarily.
    Incredible family heirlooms❣

  4. They are priceless to all of humankind as they represent the wisdom of indigenous peoples who see themselves as a part of this world but not owners of it.

  5. $800 to $1200…Are you kidding me? Even the insurance number is low. Those relics are priceless!!!

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