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Why The Intricate Native American Beadwork Is Still Popular Today

Aug 17, 2007
American Indian beadwork is an art that has been handed down for generations among the different Indian cultures. Their beads were used on moccasins, pipebags, belt bags, used on toy cradles, dolls, and other toys, knife sheaths, and different pieces of clothing. The beadwork varied greatly among the different tribes and individuals but each one was unique in its own way. Each tribe had different colors depending on the dyes available from different plants in the areas in which they lived.

Much of the beadwork and other Indian Pottery and artwork had a meaning behind it and represented something in their lives. Since the American Indians were on the move a lot they could not have breakables of any kind so they would decorate their utensils, blankets, or anything else they could paint, attach beads, carve or decorate in any other way.

They had a gift of imagination and handiwork second to none and there are still many beautiful pieces of artwork made years ago. Some of these can be found on the market for purchase and there are many pieces in museums around the country. To us today, the beadwork is just beautiful pieces of jewelry, etc., but to them they meant much more. it was a way of life for them. It was a way for each one to express themselves. The history of each tribe is a story in itself and it is very interesting to study them.

There is still many people doing beadwork today and many of them are decedents of the American Indians of days gone by but their spirit lives on in their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Beadwork and other works of art that the American Indians did should never die. Hopefully the offspring of the pioneers will continue on with the traditions and artwork.

Back then it was a necessity for survival but today it is just a hobby but it is at least still being utilized. Before beadwork was introduced into the Indians way of life, they used mainly paints made of dyes from different plants and flowers, shell, and porcupine quills. Quillwork was a sacred art of the Native American Plains tribes.

Clothing, utensils and other devices were decorated. It was not until the mid eighteen hundreds that designs began to change. Some of the tribes today who still do beadwork are Pueblo, Five Civilized Tribes, Shoshone, Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and many more. Surprisingly enough there is still a lot of beadwork being produced by hand by these tribe's people. These people are proud and they want their offspring to remember their elders and their traditions from long ago. Beadwork is one way to remind the American Indians of today of who they are and where they came from. It is so thrilling that they have such beautiful art to live on through their heirs.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as unusual glass beads at http://www.unusualglassbeads.com
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