This vest was donated to Goodwill in Seattle, which then donated it to the Burke Museum (Image courtesy KOMO News)

Century-Old Native American Vest Donated to Seattle Goodwill


A vest discovered in a trunk donated to the Seattle Goodwill in 2006 has been donated to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the University of Washington campus, also in Seattle.

The colorful beaded vest from the early 1900s has a price of $18 written on the lining, but the Goodwill thought it too valuable to sell it, so they put it in storage and have now donated it.

“We have to make the decision, what’s the best use of the donation,” Katherine Boury, of Goodwill, told KOMO News. “In this case because it’s of cultural significance, it seems it would be best to be accessible to everyone.”

While those assessing the vest are not sure of its exact use and origin, it may have been regalia for a pow wow and it may have been made by a member of a tribe from the northern Plains.

“There’s been some discussion with various experts about which particular tribe and we’re not able to say precisely which tribe it might be,” Robin Wright, Burke Museum curator of Native American art, told KOMO News.

The museum also thinks the vest was sold to a tourist.

“Whoever gave it to Goodwill probably knew more about it. They probably knew their grandfather got it while on a train ride through Glacier [National Park],” “That’s the kind of information we’d love to have.”

The Burke Museum will not be displaying the vest for public view, but it will be available for anyone wishing to see it by appointment.

Anyone wishing to have items identified can take up to three items to the museum’s annual Artifact ID Day on February 9 from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

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