What Are Some Native American Craft Supplies?


Quick Answer

Native American craft supplies include natural materials such as wood, stone and clay and animal products such as fur, feathers, leather, teeth, bones and antlers. Modern Native American craftspeople also use glass beads and ceramic glazes that were introduced to them after European contact made these materials available.

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Full Answer

Historically accurate Native American crafts exclusively make use of local natural materials, since native tribes had no access to artificial materials before European contact and did not engage in trade to gain access to materials not already readily available. The typical materials used for crafts from this period include the fibers and juices of local plants, the bark of indigenous trees, and whatever unrefined metals were present in the earth at that time.

After European contact, Native American craftspeople began to make use of refined metals, glass, dyes and cloth. Combined with European crafting techniques such as splint basketry and metal work, the production of new types of Native American crafts was made possible. Additionally, Native American craftspeople modified some of their traditional techniques, such as moose and porcupine hair embroidery. Traditional Native American crafts are typically embellished utilitarian objects, while those influenced by European contact have additional symbolic meaning, such as power or political prestige, and reduced focus on functionalism.

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