Intricate Beauty

By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer, 2015 Artists in Business Leadership Fellow

Love. Respect. Family. The Lakota way of life. Beverly Bear King Moran’s (Standing Rock Sioux) journey began with visits to her grandmother in North Dakota, where Beverly experienced her first powwow. She wanted to dance. But she had no regalia.

Many years passed before Beverly could have a Northern Traditional dress made. But then a pair of beaded moccasins at a pawnshop started her on an inspirational journey. The designs were intricate, intriguing. She had to learn this art form.

When Beverly’s then 2-year-old daughter began dancing, she needed regalia. Beverly’s love for her daughter started her down the path she now travels as a culture preserver for her people. With respect to tradition, and love for her daughter, Beverly taught herself to bead regalia for them both. She found her art when she put needle to leather. And her daughter became a champion dancer.

The awards for beadwork Beverly has garnered are humbling for her. In 2015 alone, she received honors at the Santa Fe Indian Market, Gathering of People, Wind & Water, and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market.

Beverly Bear King Moran, "Dakota Night Sky", 2016. Traditional Buckskin Dress.

Beverly Bear King Moran, "Dakota Night Sky", 2016. Traditional Buckskin Dress.

According to a discussion Beverly had with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s cultural adviser, there are few from her tribe still creating the traditional regalia. However, as long as one person is carrying on the tradition, it’s alive and well.

She has studied dresses made by Native women so many years ago. With the materials available today, she should be able to surpass them, but to her, their work is so, so beautiful. It's an exquisite, intricate process working with the traditional lazy stitch beading method on buckskin dress yokes, using applique for barrettes and hair ties, and for fan handles, the “peyote” beading technique.

For Beverly, her work is more of an inspirational journey than an art form. But anyone who sees her work knows the artistic prowess in her elaborate designs.

Now it’s time for Beverly to go deeper with her historical knowledge. First Peoples Fund is supporting her research of the rich collections of artifacts at the Denver Art Museum to find patterns and techniques to revive. This knowledge, these resources, she can bring back to her community and beyond to educate people about her heritage. She plans to become the mentor she didn't have.

Beverly carries on the beading traditions and beauty of her relations. The Lakota way of life.

Beverly Bear King Moran, "Winona" – (Lakota for First Daughter), 2015.  Traditional Buckskin Dress. Photo Courtesy of Artist. 

Beverly Bear King Moran, "Winona" – (Lakota for First Daughter), 2015. 

Traditional Buckskin Dress. Photo Courtesy of Artist. 

Beverly Bear King Moran is a 2016 Cultural Capital Fellow and a 2008 Artists in Business Leadership Fellow.