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Battle Dress Web / Index Page / Circa 1890 / Lakota / Hairpipe /

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Jackie Bird
Jackie Bird - Corn Woman
by Florestine Renville German
Jackie Bird
Native American Honor Song (video)
Jackie Bird
Singer - Hoop Dancer
Jackie Bird
Native American Hoop Dance (video)
Kevin Locke
Kevin Locke
Kevin Locke
Native Dance Ensemble
Kevin Locke
Kevin Locke
Nellie Two Bulls
Lakota Olowan
Songs in Lakota Tradition
Nellie Two Bulls
Porcupine Singers
Lakota Flag Song/Veterans' Song
by Porcupine Singers
Porcupine Singers
iTunes - Music
Porcupine Singers
Porcupine Singers
Traditional Lakota Songs (CR-8007)
Lakota Thunder
Lakota Thunder
Sitting Bull Memorial Song
Lakota Thunder
Way of Life
Lakota Thunder
Veterans Songs
Sissy Goodhouse
Sissy Goodhouse
On Last FM
Sissy Goodhouse
Sissy Goodhouse
discusses drumming among the Lakota
Sissy Goodhouse
The Third Circle
Sissy Goodhouse
Sissy Goodhouse
Spirit of Song
Strong Heart
Lakota National Anthem
Strong Heart Warrior Society
Buddy Red Bow
Buddy Red Bow - Lakota Singer
on YouTube


The Trade Goods style of art comes from a blend of certain materials available to the Native American artist/crafts person. It's the outcome of their combining traditional and modern materials to create forms of artistic expression most familiar to them. This is the style of decorative arts which emerged on the northern plains around 1890.

Indian Trade Goods: Circa 1890

The evolution of trade goods style arts began with and continued throughout all the trade periods. From first contact to the 1890s' native people began integrating new materials into their artistic works.

Indian Beadwork evolved in this way. With the availability of seed beads of increasingly smaller sizes, our decorative arts style became more intricate in detail, color and design.

Similarly, the use of hairpipe and other trade items in decorative jewelry, on our belongings or on our selves, began to evolve.

Traditional Lakota materials

Hide, sinew, feathers, and porcupine quills were materials native to the northern plains, and could be considered the oldest traditional materials. Buffalo, Elk and Deer hides were used to create almost everything we used. Sinew was used to sew and to string decorative items, like jewelry. Feathers of all types embellished our dance outfits and our selves.

Before beadwork arrived on the northern plains, we traditionally created designs and patterns on our belongings using Porcupine Quills, flattened and woven into the item we were decorating.

Shell beads, dentellium tubes, and spanish silver were other items obtained during earlier trade periods, but which over time became traditional before the 19th century trade period. Dentillium shell beads had long been been acquired in trade from other tribes and incorporated into our decorative arts. Spanish Silver medallions were also in our possession prior to the trade goods period of the 1800s'.

New Trade Good materials

The 19th century trade period brought materials not before available to the northern plains peoples. As a result, these new goods greatly influenced the development of their native decorative arts and jewelry.

Among these new materials was the metal cone, now commonly used as a decorative on the female Jingle Dress dancers outfit.

Its' craft origin came from taking the lids off of cans, obtained in trade, and curling them into cones. These cones are then strung onto outfits, or into jewelry to create an audible, as well as visual, effect. Today, these cones are available preshaped and come in a variety of metals, such as brass, nickel or copper.

In the same way, native craftsmen acquired spent shell casings after the Indian wars period, then embellished their dance outfits and decorative arts using brass shell casings in a variety of ways.

Another popular innovation in the decorative arts of the period was the imbedding of upholstry nails, or heavy tacks with large heads, on war clubs or lances. Museum collections are full of examples of these type of pieces.

Trade Good Style Arts

The development of trade goods style arts is by far the best example of the survival of our traditions of change.

A carefull examination of several native decorative arts throughout various historical periods will build our understanding of the trade goods influence in Native American arts. Hopefully, we will then realize that ultimately, all Native American arts have been and are similarly influenced.





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BATTLE DRESS WEB : Trade Goods Style Page
created by Richard Two Elk
TWO ELK ENTERPRISE:Battle Dress Jewelry
Est.: MARCH 1999
Updated: JANUARY 2012