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I am writing this to give you a few things to consider when you find Native American Items. These are: Where was it found? What was its purpose? How old is it? Is there a story behind the design?

Where it was found can give you a hint of where to start looking for the Tribe that made it. It could be from a Woodlands Tribe, a Plains Tribe, a Southwest Tribe, a Northwest Tribe, a Coastal Tribe, or even an Inuit Tribe. Once you find out which general area it is from, you then have to determine which of the General Tribes under that it is from. If you find out for example that it is from a Plains Tribe, you then have to determine if it is Sioux, Omaha, Winnebago, Ponca, etc. Now after you find out all of that, you still have more work to do. Say you have now determined that it is Plains Indian, Sioux Tribe, you now have to go further and determine if is is: Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Rosebud...etc. Once you know all that you may be able to find out who made the item, how old it is, and an approximate value on it.

The design on the item the will have a special meaning to that particular tribe, but the colors will also have a certain meaning in that tribe as well, especially in the case of beaded items, baskets, or blankets. Design and color are a way to tell a story without words. Sometimes the makers are trying to tell a story, as is most likely the case in the older Native American Items. However, in the newer items, the maker is only putting the colors and designs together that are pleasing to them, with no thought of telling a story.

I hope this has helped you out just a little bit. I may post a blog later on about specific Native American Items.

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Comment by Sondra Craft on March 1, 2011 at 1:22am
I'm sorry Dina, but no I haven't seen the design before. I asked my fiance also and he had never seen it before either. I will see if I can hunt something down for you. I may have to go out to an Antique Store that deals in Native American items, or take a trip out to Old Towne to see if I can find anything out. It will be a day trip for me, but I will make the attempt.
Comment by NoseyRose Antiques on February 26, 2011 at 1:25pm

Sondra- have you seen this design before? These buttons were made by the  Bell Trading Post of Albuquerque, NM - it was founded in 1935 by Jack Michelson and named after his wife Mildred Bell Michelson, they sold Indian Jewelry to tourist from what I can find online. I'm wondering what the design stands for, if you know.

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