Mohawk Indian Crafts

Published on March 13, 2014 by Amy

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Mohawk Indian Crafts
Mohawk Indian Crafts

The Mohawk Indian Tribe is a part of the Iroquois Confederacy, a group of native people that originally lived in what is now New York state. The men hunted and fished, and the women farmed a variety of crops, such as corn, squash, beans, and berries. They also produced a variety of crafts.

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Wampum Belts

Wampum belts were handcrafted beadwork items created in such a way that they tell a story. The beads were made from shells. The belts were used to provide authenticity for runners, messages, and treaties. When used to record agreements, the wampum pattern would be mainly purple in color if the agreement was considered to be more serious, important, or sad. Otherwise the main color would be white. In addition to their other uses, these belts would sometimes be used to chronicle a family history or relate a tribal story. Today they are recreated as an historical craft.

Wedding Wheels

A wedding wheel looks similar to the more familiar dream catcher. It is a circle decorated with white deerskin and feathers. The wheel is symbolic of the bride and groom joining their lives and living as one. The design of feathers alludes to the traditional Feather Dance, which is performed after the wedding ceremony.

Corn Husk Dolls

Dolls were often made from corn husks. These dolls were used to amuse children and could be replaced easily if the doll was lost or destroyed. This craft is still practiced today, and these dolls are now made and sold for decoration.

Porcupine Quills

Porcupine quills were often used as decoration for clothing. Quills would be collected, dyed with a variety of natural colors, then woven into patterns in leather war shirts or children’s clothing. Sometimes, instead of leather, birch bark was decorated with quills for items, such as jewelry and storage boxes. Many Indians still practice this craft today.


The Mohawk Indians carve elaborate masks to be used in a variety of dances, celebrations, and special ceremonies. These face masks are considered sacred and are not to be displayed or sold, but are only to be used for tribal religious ceremonies. The masks are carved from wood, polished, and decorated with feathers, hair, shells, and other items. There is disagreement among native people as to whether any of these masks should be copied for sale and display or kept solely by the tribe as religious items. Currently, some craftsmen make and sell this type of mask, while others make them only for personal use.

Source: ehow Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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