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Web Hunt: Native American Heritage

Design your own beadwork, identify types of baskets, see kids make their own moccasins, and more as you explore five traditional Native American crafts through this web hunt.

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

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Much more than just something pretty to admire, crafts are an important part of Native American culture and tradition.

Here are three ways crafts are used:

  • to show tribal membership
  • to record and share community history
  • to meet daily needs like clothing and shelter

In this Web Hunt, you'll explore five traditional Native American crafts. You'll design your own beadwork, identify different kinds of baskets, and see kids making their own moccasins. Print and use this page the Native American Heritage Web Hunt Worksheet (PDF) to record what you find or write your answers on your own sheet of paper.

1. Beads

Through history, beading has played an important role in many Native American cultures. Read about some of the different ways beads have been used and explain two different uses for them.

Now, use this interactive tool to design your own beadwork pattern.

2. Winter Counts

Have you ever kept a diary or journal? Winter counts are one way groups within the Lakota tribe kept a physical record of the important events that happened each year. See a winter count and read about what they represent.

If you created a winter count for yourself, what one image would you choose to represent the past year? Why?

3. Cornhusk Dolls

Cornhusk dolls are a Native American craft that has probably been practiced for more than a thousand years. See a cornhusk doll and write down one of the traditional uses for them.

Now, read the story behind why cornhusk dolls are traditionally made without a face. Explain the reason in your own words.

4. Moccasins

Moccasins are the traditional footwear of many Native American tribes. Why was it important to make sturdy, protective footwear? Find the answer here and record it in your own words.

Of course, there are many ways to make and decorate a pair of moccasins. Look at this exhibit that shows a variety of colors, patterns, and styles. People still make moccasins, although it is less commonly practiced today than in the past. Take a look at these students in Oregon who made their own.

5. Baskets

Weaving natural materials into baskets is a traditional craft of many Native American tribes. Watch a slideshow of some of the different kinds of baskets.

Now, challenge yourself: Can you identify the technique and pattern used to make four different types of baskets?

What Native American craft would you most like to try making yourself? What would that craft show about your own personal history?

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