Native American Art~The Beauty and Tradition

How I became involved

I became involved in Native American Art when I started traveling from my home in Nebraska, to South Dakota several years ago. At first, I was just another tourist. Then, I truly began to appreciate the beauty of the Black Hills. On one trip, I met Paha-Ska (White Hills) whose English name was Orville Salway. He sat in full ragalia on the main boardwalk of Keystone S.D. I took a picture of him and my two daughters. As fate would have it, I came to know and admire this man, a Lakota Elder with a witty, gentle nature.

On another trip, I met his Wife, Susan (Yellow Bird Woman.) Susan showed me all of the wonderful hide paintings that Paha-Ska had done (Sadly, Paha Ska had passed away.) I also bought some of his prints which were brilliant! It was Susan who first took me onto the Pine Ridge Reservation. I met some wonderful people and learned so much about the History and Tradition. Unlike what some may think, it was not narratives from angry Indians (they call themselves Indians, so I have learned to do the same.) They spoke lovingly of the culture and tradition of their arts.

**See my other Article about Native American Arts:"

**All Art depicted and referenced are AUTHENTIC Native American Art

I now travel up there as often as possible and I take donated items to the residents of the Reservation. I would like to share with you some of the beautiful, inspiring art that has been produced by these and other Artists.

Skill and Tradition

On the Reservations, the arts as well as the Native tongue are taught to the young. Much like the European settlers taught crochet and tatting to their children. Native American art dates back centruries, in fact, when ever possible, I go "bead hunting" on the reservation and often find antique beads.

The medium for Native American Art often involves Animal skins, bones and other materials. Animals are sacred to the Native American and each has a significance. Animals are NOT killed to produce the art, instead, the bones of animals killed in nature are used. These are plentiful on the Reservation. Deer and Buffalo skulls are a common medium, as are deer and rabbit hides and skins. Porcupine Quills are also often used.

Each piece is a labor of love. Many of the art forms take a considerable amount of time, thought, concentration and creativity to produce.

Why buy Native American Art

Most Authentic Native American Art is hand produced. No factory filled with machines and workers. Each piece is individually designed. The art and skill that goes into each piece is priceless. Also, the Art is a productive, creative and cultural way for these folks to earn money. Quite often, the proceeds of a sale will benefit the Tribe. The Lakota (and other Native Americans) are a sharing people. When one has, everyone has. Many American Indians on reservations (and off) house 10 or more people. Art is a wonderful way for them to provide a living and feed their families. Often, it is the Elders who are the primary artists.

Many times, the Art sold benefits a Native American School, or Museum which fosters the Culture and provides education on the Native American Cultures. Please ensure that when you buy, it is Authentic Art. The Authenticity and the Individuality increases the personal value of the Art.

Young Artist~Tradition!

Tribes and Traditions

Each Tribe of Native Americans have their own Story, Culture, Tradition and Art, although many themes are common among Tribes. Each is a fascinating story, and deserve to be told individually. This Article is meant as an introduction to the Beauty of Native American Art.

The art represented here comes from a vairety of Tribes and Artists. I am currently doing articles on the separate Tribes and Artists. If you are a Native American Artist interested in having your art featured, please contact me through my profile page. Thank You

More by this Author

  • Cool Names for Restaurants

    It's funny the things we can see when we travel. Not only are we surrounded by new sights, views, scenery and nature, but we have the opportunity to check out local quisine. Often, more often than you may think, you...

Please leave me your feedback and comments 3 comments

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan

I have always felt a strong kinship of some sort with the Indians of the Americas. Maybe because my great, great, grandmother was part Indian. I wish I knew which nation and tribe but I don't even know for sure if she was 1/4 Indian. My mother said she was but my Uncle who was much younger and possibly didn't even know her says she was not.

I enjoyed reading your hub. I especially love the three year old doing bead work. That was cute.

WesternHistory profile image

WesternHistory 5 years ago from California

Very interesting post. Enjoyed reading. Attending the Indian Market in Santa Fe each year I have a good appreciation for native American Art. Thanks

Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida

Just a suggestion. Most Hubbers sort through a lot of Hubs each day to find something interesting to read. I have found that adding a picture that reflects your subject will make more people slow down and check your works out than having only text. If you are not a photographer, check out the many sites that provide free pics that you might use.

This was a very good article and I am glad I found it.


    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article