Native American Crafts & Culture

Published on July 4, 2011 by Amy

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Native American Jewelry
Native Americans are often
skilled in the crafting of jewelry

According to Factasy, use of the term Native American came about in the 1960s, as reference to the individuals served by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Native American cultures vary among the different tribes, and each is known for specific skills. Crafts vary widely as well, and among them are jewelry, clothing, pottery, carvings, drums, flutes, paintings and dolls. There are more than 150 different Native American peoples in North America alone.

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The Apache Nation has been known for their fighting ability in their resistance to the Americans, according to Native Languages of the Americas. Historically they were nomadic. They lived off the buffalo, used working dogs and were one of the first to use horses. They have 13 different tribes on five reservations located in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Apaches are known for their beadwork and basketry.


The Arapahos and Cheyenne Indians were excellent buffalo hunters in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and Kansas. They hunted deer and elk, as well as fished, according to Legends of America. They also ate plants and berries. They stayed in small bands, but all came together once each year for a festival prior to the buffalo hunt. Arapaho are very spiritual and observe a close relationship with their land and the animals. The women were known for making blankets, robes, moccasins, ropes and tipis, all made from buffalo hides.


The Navajos are the large group of Native Americans in the United States. Family life is important to the Navajos, and their lifestyle is rich with rituals and ceremonies, including prayers and songs. Navajos are known for their weaving abilities and their crafts, including jewelry, rugs, blankets, pottery and baskets.


Shoshones, also known as Snake Indians, are related to the Comanches and Paiutes. The Shoshones believed in a Creator, as well as dreams and visions. They cultivated a spirit of courage, self-reliance and wisdom. Located in Montana, Utah and Idaho, there were seven different groups. Lewis and Clark were led to the Pacific Ocean by Sacagawea, the sister of a Shoshone chief. Shoshones were known for their fine beadwork, basketry and paintings on animal hides.


The Tainos (Arawak people) were the gentle and peaceful natives of the Caribbean and South American coast. They were the first Indian tribe that Christopher Columbus encountered in his expedition when he landed in the Bahamas. They believed in and worshipped Yocahu, a divine being. They fished, hunted and farmed, all with a respect and reverence for nature and all living things. Tainos crafted pottery and made baskets.


The Wampanoag (Algonquin) were the natives of New England who farmed, hunted and fished. They were the Indians who attended the first Thanksgiving feast with the settlers. Their diet was primarily corn, along with fish and game. They maintained a physical and spiritual harmony with their environment and honored their elders and their traditions. Wampanoags were known for weaving, basketry, sewing and the tanning of hides.

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