Arts and Crafts
Native American artwork reflects the beauty and splendor of the natural world
Native Americans appreciate the beauty and splendor of the world around them. This appreciation is illustrated in the artwork and intricate designs that adorn their clothing, jewelry, homes and everyday items. Tribal artists use design and color to represent the connection between them and their environment. Design elements vary from tribe to tribe. Keep an eye out for items marked with the Native American Made in Montana emblem as you visit the reservations and tribal communities. Watch for businesses across Indian Country that offer classes where you can learn and make your own handmade souvenir. Local crafters and artists sell their handmade crafts at farmers markets, powwows, celebrations, art exhibits, museums, local gift shops and other locations.
Beadwork is a time-honored skill, and items that are hand beaded are usually custom designed by a specific beadwork artist. Glass beadwork is the art of looming, stringing beads together or sewing them onto fabric to create designs. This artwork has been perfected since Native Americans first had contact with Europeans and could trade or barter for glass beads. Prior to using glass beads, items were adorned with various materials, such as porcupine quills, shells, bones and even the ivory teeth of certain animals
Indigenous crafts are available in many different materials and designs. While you travel, look for colorful quilts, sturdy custom leatherwork, beaded jewelry, clothing, weavings, woodwork or even a stunning painting. Many hours go into the making of these items, and the designs can be very intricate and complex.