Native American Unit Study - Lesson 8a: Plains Indians

My daughter made a Native American headband and a fetish necklace.

The plains Indians followed the buffalo as the buffalo was essential for their houses, clothing and food. Horses brought to America by Europeans drastically changed the way of life of plains tribes. After some horses escaped and flourished in the wild, plains Indians began to capture and tame the wild horses. They became expert horsemen, using horses to transport goods and more easily hunt the buffalo.

The crafts from this post were based on crafts discussed in the book More Than Moccasins: A Kid's Activity Guide to Traditional North American Indian Life (Hands-On History) by Laurie Carlson.

Fetish Necklace
Much like a lucky rabbit's foot is carried in a pocket or worn around the neck, Plains Indians carried or wore fetish necklaces. Traditionally carved from stone, these small objects were thought to have magical powers and bring luck to the wearer.

My daughter made her fetish necklace by sewing two tiny pieces of fabric together in the shape of a hedgehog. She tied her hedgehog to a string to wear around her neck.

Many tribes wore headdresses containing feathers. Depending upon the region, the feathers stuck straigt up, out to the sides or draped down the back. Often Eagle feathers were placed in the headwear as they were difficult to obtain.

In the same way Americans are rewarded with medals of honor, Natives were rewarded by adding another feather to their headdress.

To make her headdress, my daughter folded a piece of construction paper into a strip and then attached a string to make it fit around her head. She glued on feathers and added hanging beads.

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