North Dakota Art - Spirit Trails and Sky Beings

Birch Bark Scroll

Located between the Governors Gallery and the Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time, the Red River Hall is home to North Dakota Art. This rotating art gallery features North Dakota artists selected by the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

The “Spirit Trails and Sky Beings” exhibit shares eight rare birch bark scrolls made by Miskomin, or Richard LaFromboise, an Ojibway traditionalist from the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation.

Ojibway tradition tells that the epic struggles and great deeds of mythical beings, spirits, and heroes have affected the lives of people. Some of these myths are recorded on birch bark scrolls, using a series of symbols called pictographs, to be passed to future generations and serve as memory aids in telling traditional stories. The scrolls are preserved today in the hands of a few individuals, such as Miskomin, known as “Keepers of the Scrolls.”

The scrolls are expressions of Ojibway culture that teach lessons and values to children as well as adults. The exhibit also shows how to read the scrolls and explores how they are made.

On exhibit through Jan. 31, 2018, the exhibit was produced by the State Historical Society of North Dakota in cooperation with the North Dakota Council on the Arts.