Rare 170-Year-Old Cree Jacket Turns Up at Vintage Shop in UK–and They Want to Reunite It With Its Community
A rare Indigenous Canadian jacket believed to be more than 170 years old has turned up at a vintage clothing warehouse in the UK.
The brown fringe jacket arrived at the Glass Onion vintage warehouse in Barnsley, South Yorkshire after it was brought to the UK from a clothing bale from America.
After the authenticity was confirmed the store began thinking of ways to reunite its community rather than selling it.
It’s believed that the jacket was made in the 1850s by someone in one of the Métis or Cree First Nations in western Canada.
“The jacket was amongst hundreds of others that came in the bales, but thankfully our team are experts in vintage clothing and instantly knew this one was special,” said Alice Leadbetter, the shop’s head of marketing.
“We’ve been in the vintage business for over 15 years, and we have never seen a jacket quite like this one. Next to the other 60s and 70s fringe jackets, it was obvious that this one was extra special and had an amazing story to tell.”
“The super soft leather, incredible beadwork, and attention to detail in the design were what instantly stood out as soon as we saw it,” she added.
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Consulting remotely with experts, a consensus took shape that it’s likely Métis or Cree from western Canada’s provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, or Alberta.
Leadbetter noted that Certain design elements such as the olive-green chain stitch on the pockets indicate it was likely made around the 1850s, possibly by an artist for a family member or a fur trader.
“We’ve recently found out that the fringe tassels are wrapped in dyed porcupine quills too which is pretty crazy,” she said.
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“The research is still ongoing but I’m constantly discovering something new about this incredible piece so feels like we’re one step closer every week to uncovering its history. It would be amazing to get confirmation of where the jacket is from and who made it so we can look at reuniting the piece with its community.”
Leadbetter put out a request to anyone who has additional means of confirming the origin of the jacket to call Glass Onion Vintage Warehouse.
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