North Dakota Pottery Collectors Society



Standing Rock Sioux Indian Pottery

by Arley & Bonnie Olson

As the mid 1930s Work Progress Administration programs swept the nation, the growing economic importance of craft production by Southwestern Native Americans was recognized. Government officials began to encourage self-help developments in other Native Americans communities. Ceramic projects were introduced in the schools so that children on the reservations could make pottery for use in their homes.

In November 1936 Bruce Doyle an instructor at the U.S. Indian School in Bismarck was transferred to the school at the U.S. Indian Reservation at Fort Yates as ceramics director. In June & September 1937 he was in contact with Freida Hammers, an instructor in ceramics at UND who was giving him information on clay and glazes because he prepared his own glazes.

This shows that Doyle was working with pottery at Fort Yates in 1937 and possibly before. Doyle was a self taught chemist who took ceramic classes at the University of Washington, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Oregon, and University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. After WPA Ceramics moved to Mandan, ND. in November 1936 Fort Yates did the firing of their green ware as at this time WPA did not have a kiln at Mandan.

Margaret Cable, director of the University of North Dakota ceramics department, served as Traveling Educational Expert in Ceramics, Indian Service at Large for the United State Field Services went to Pine Ridge Reservation in SD. in 1937 for six months. Doyle was in Cable’s class and soon thereafter transferred to Pine Ridge as director of the school pottery program.








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Last modified: 07/11/2020