Plains Native Americans - Beading, Painting, Carving Illustration

Fine Arts
Beading Painting Carving
Native Americans
in Olden Times for Kids

The Plains people were marvelous artists.

Pipes: They carved pipes out of wood. Some were beautifully decorated.

Painting: They made paints and natural dyes using berry juice and other plants in nature. Most paintings were action scenes - scenes of battle, of hunts, of warriors riding horses and warriors shooting bows and arrows. They often painted their weapons.

Porcupine Quills: The Plains People wove geometric designs (squares, triangles, diamonds) into their clothing, moccasins, and other personal goods. They did not use beads. They used porcupine quills. They used quill pieces as small as one eight of an inch (1/8") and as large as 5" to create these designs. They used natural dyes, so their colors were tan, dull white, bright red, vivid yellow, and black. Their stitching was so perfect and tiny that the end result looked like beadwork.

Beads and Barter: Quillwork spread from the Woodland People to the Plains People. The People were eager to trade pelts for beads. The white man's beads came in many colors and were much easier to use than porcupine quills.

Unlike the Woodland Islands, where men did the beadwork, in the Plains, women did the beadwork. The women were proud of their work. The men wore their clothes with pride. Their women might add 5 or 6 pounds of beads to a garment that was already heavy because it was made from animal hide.

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