PATHS ACROSS THE PLAINS
Traditional Footwear from the Great Plains
The artistry of the decorated footwear produced by Plains Indian women has long been admired for its intricate beauty. Each careful stitch was a reflection of the maker and it was through her skills that a woman gained respect and prestige within her own culture. The footwear that women produced also reflected the larger world around them. The conflict and change endemic to the Plains in the 19th century can be read in their artistry. From the age-old traditions of porcupine quillwork to the late 19th century development of elaborate prairie-style beadwork, the story of how Plains peoples embraced new ideas and struggled to preserve traditional values continues to be told through their footwear.
Native tanned and smoked hide, glass beads, porcupine quills, cotton, tin, horse hair, sinew