Genuine Native American Crafts

Published on June 28, 2011 by Amy

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Feather Earrings Native American Silver & Turquoise
Feather Earrings
Native American Silver & Turquoise

Native American tribes across the continent specialized in a variety of different crafts. These craft traditions, in some capacity, continue into the present day. There are several different types of crafts that Native American tribes enjoyed creating, most of which had a practical or religious application in their lives.

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Dream Catchers

Dream catchers were created by Native Americans to capture bad dreams and only allow good dreams through. They were often hung by the beds or cradles of children and babies. Dream catchers were created first by the Ojibwe people and were woven together out of twigs, sticks and feathers. The feathers hung down from the woven charm, and when they moved, it signified a good dream was passing through. Modern-day dream catchers are sometimes made with beads or gems as opposed to feathers.


Each Native American tribe had its own special style for creating jewelry. In addition, the material they made jewelry with varied and often became trade items between tribes. Typical Native American jewelry is made with beads, shells, copper, silver or ivory, among other items. Native American jewelry often consisted of necklaces and earrings, and these jewelry pieces were used on moccasins, bags and clothing, as well as horse gear.


Another craft that many Native American tribes created was dolls. Like most crafts, each tribe had its own unique style and manner for creating the tiny dolls. For instance, the Shoshone tribe created baby dolls that came in tiny cradle-board objects. This is the same kind of cradle board a real Native American baby was carried around in. The Navajo tribe created dolls out of cloth and with painted faces. One of the most unique Native American dolls was created by the Hopi tribe. The Hopi Kachina dolls were made to be wooden statues, to be a religious symbol for the tribe.


Masks are another craft item created by Native Americans. These masks were used in a variety of religious ceremonies and traditional dances. One of the tribes most famous for creating masks is the Northwest Coast Indians, who designed elaborate masks made out of cedar wood. Other tribes created masks out of wood, including the Hopi and Pueblo tribes. Other tribes used different materials to create masks, such as the Navajo and Apache tribes, who created masks using leather.

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Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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