Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Little History Lesson on Beadwork

This is a photo of a wonderful Elder Apache man Called "Cougar" by some, but I was fortunate enough to call him "Grandfather". He shone with the glitter of silver on Pow Wow days, and in this picture, displayed the new bead work, in an Apache pattern, of his choosing, he requested of me for the opening ceremony on the first Powwow in Charlemont, Mass, in 1999. It was loom work, and I had to build a good one to bear the weight and size of those longer pieces. A dear friend, Lee, made all his silver and turquoise for him, designing it they way any good craftsman would; with skill, and a love of the work.
Most know that seed beads came to the Americas as trade items, and sometimes replaced the traditional Quill work that was beautifully done in many tribes. I believe that the
Blackfoot were among the last to enter into this trade, not being as trusting of the white man, or eager for the "fire water" that they were traded for. If my info is wrong, please let me know by email, I will add your comments.

For more on the silver traditions, and some customs of different Southwest tribes, try this link:

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