Native American Indian Art

Music plays an important role in the Native American culture, but there is a very special place for art, too. American Indians have used art as a way of expressing themselves for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Most of their art is symbolic with bears, eagles, people or walruses playing a huge part, and much of the artwork is made from rocks, feathers, clay and fabric.

In colder areas, the Native Americans enjoyed creating art as a tribute to their animal friends. Walruses were carved out of whale’s teeth and bears and eagles were made out of rock. Statues were often created to show the Native American love of animals. Even weapons and musical instruments were considered to be art for the Native American tribes.

When you think about Native American art, one of their most cherished art forms instantly comes to mind. The Indians are famous for their use of the legendary totem poles, which were tall wooden sculptures that showed several generations of a family. Each of the “faces” in the pole showed different representations of different family members—some were human and some were animal.

Basket weaving, too, was considered by the Indians to be a form of art—albeit one that served a very important role in their everyday lives. Cornhusks and reeds were woven together to create the baskets, and then the material would be dyed to make the fascinating tribal patterns that Indians are so famous for. In fact, the Navajo tribe is most famous for their handwoven baskets. 

Vanessa A. Ryan is the author of:
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