Photography by Franz Brown all items copyright Franz Brown

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Larry Belitz was born on a farm in Davenport, Iowa in 1943. He had an early interest in Indian artifacts due to an uncle who had made a gift of some Indian artifacts. Through the years he studied and experimented as he tried to learn the methods used by Indians to create their supple brain tanned leathers. After coming as a teacher to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota He was able to learn some of the brain tanning techniques from the older Indians.

Belitz developed a particular friendship with Flossie Bear Robe from whom he learned porcupine quillwork. She adopted him as her blood brother and he was given the name Tasunke Waste (Pr. tah-shoon-kay wash-tay) meaning "Good Horse" because of a horse that he had.

His work promoting Indian art resulted in a number of museum contacts which now regularly turn to him for restoration and reproduction work. "Artifacts" by Belitz may now be seen in many collections including the Smithsonian Museum, the Chicago Field Museum and the St Louis Arch.

The painted buffalo hide behind Belitz is a replica of the original hide collected by Lewis and Clark in 1804 from the Mandan Indians of North Dakota. It was sent to President Jefferson who later sold it to pay some debts. The images reflected important battles and leaders. The first replica of this hide was made by Belitz for the Jefferson home museum in Monticello.

 

Red Cloud's Shirt

Porcupine Quillwork

Artifacts

Artifacts by Larry Belitz include not only buffalo hides. The knowledge he gained through working with Native Americans and inspecting original artifacts has helped him preserve the knowledge of how these items were made. His artifacts are genuine replicas, that is he uses materials and methods used by Indians in the construction of artifacts during the period around 1870. You may learn about more the artifacts and see additional works by clicking here.

Franz Brown has photographed art and artists for many years. Click here to learn more about the photographer.

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