The first design in this series I found was the napkin or letter holder. Further research brought me to the salt and pepper shakers (these seem to be the most common) and the small bowls (these seem to be the least common). I also discovered much about the history of the St. Labre Indian School and the controversy that exists between the Catholic Church, the operator of St. Labre, and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
Apparently, these trinkets were gifts for donating to the school during their fundraising appeals. All are made of plastic and feature matching orange or yellow bases, green sides, and yellow accents. They are all easily disassembled for cleaning or storage. They are also affordably priced. Expect to pay less than $10 for any of these items. Most images in this post are from eBay and etsy, unless noted.
Salt and pepper shakers
The salt and pepper shakers are designed to look like a tom tom drum. Each consists of a top and bottom in orange, a tall yellow insert, and a green sleeve. The shakers stand 2” tall and are 1-1/4” in diameter.
The green sleeve features stylized patterns of a person with a small cloud to the upper left and teepee to the lower right and a deer with hoof prints to its lower left and upper right. The designs are opposite each other on the green sleeve.
I have found the salt and pepper shakers with two bottoms, one has a small notch at the 12 o’clock position (left), one does not (right). The bottom of each salt and pepper shaker is marked:
Original packaging and shipping box for the salt and pepper shaker set. Image source: Copperton Lane Antiques and Collectables via Ruby Lane.
Napkin or letter holder
While the packaging describes this item as the “Northern Cheyenne Letter Holder,” it also suggests home or office use. The holder is 5” long, 4-1/2” tall, and 2” wide.
In many examples, the yellow panels behind the designs are not present.
I have found the letter holder with two bases. One has four cylindrical pegs (top), one does not (bottom). Imprint on the bottom of the Northern Cheyenne Letter Holder, marked:
Northern Cheyenne Letter Holder with a yellow instead of the more common orange base.
Packaging for the “Northern Cheyenne Letter Holder”. It reads:
NORTHERN CHEYENNE LETTER HOLDER
This attractive gift from the Northern Cheyenne may be used in your home or office. In your home, use as a napkin holder, or if you prefer to use it on your desk, it can store important stamps or correspondence.
Easy to assemble. Face the two separate sides into the slats on base with the ornamental figures facing outwards.
These small bowls match the other items in the set, but are encountered much less frequently. The sugar bowls are 1-7/8” tall by 2-7/8” diameter.
The bottom of each salt and pepper shaker is marked in small lettering: