Canku Ota
(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
Traditions - Arts and Crafts
Traditons- Food
Traditions - Music and Dance
Traditions - Clothing
Traditions - Games
Traditions - Transportation
Traditions - Dwellings
Arts and Crafts
Applehead Dolls
Dolls are one of the oldest forms of entertainment in the world.
Carving at Skidegate
In the following sections you will find a story told with photos of a totem pole being carved at Skidegate, Haida Gwaii
Dot So La Lee
On the curve of land which comprises the northern bank of Tahoe's Truckee River outlet, on a wooden floor with materials of her labor spread at the perimeters of her voluminous skirts, and Indian woman often used to sit with her front door open to catch the light necessary for the fineness of her work.
Inuit Cultural Perspectives
Welcome to the Inuit art and traditional culture Web Page! This site links the graphic work of some of the famous artists from the community of Cape Dorset with the memories, myths and legends of elders from the community of Igloolik.
Making Natural Dyes From Plants
Did you know that a great source for natural dyes can be found right in your own back yard! Roots, nuts and flowers are just a few common natural ways to get many colours. Yellow, orange, blue, red, green, brown and grey are available. Go ahead, experiment!

*National Museum of the American Indian: Beauty Surrounds Us [Macromedia Flash Player]*
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian has an engaging online version of their "Beauty Surrounds Us" exhibit. In addition to its beauty, the web exhibit also provides an activity for each section the exhibit is divided into, such as "Tools of Existence", "Recreation and Pastimes", "Design as Identity", and "Expressions of Identity." The activity tests a visitor's comprehension and memory of the objects' written descriptions given when you click on the object's picture. Once you've clicked on the object, you can then click on “Map” to see the area the object is from, and you can click on "Related" to see historic photos of the objects in use by Native peoples. The exhibit includes the Native peoples of both North and South America, and objects of indigenous materials, modern materials and a mix of indigenous and modern materials. The activity in "Design as Identity" tests your knowledge about several object's material composition. Sports fans will find some familiar items in the "Recreation and Pastimes" section, and they can even try their hand at shooting arrows at hoops to hone their buffalo shooting skills. [KMG]

Navajo Rugs: Styles on the Reservations
Rug designs sometimes have names (like the Storm pattern) and perhaps have inner meanings for the weavers. But the designs themselves are not symbolic, they have no significance.
Native American Geometry
Native American Geometry explores designs from various Native American nations to illustrate the physical geometry of the simple circle.
Porcupine Quillwork
Porcupine quillwork is one of the earliest forms of decoration used by the North American Indians. Its use was widespread...from the Woodlands peoples of the Northeast, the Plains peoples of the Midwest, and the Plateau peoples of the Northwest.
Progression of Basket Weaving in the Southwest
Basket weaving is a form of artwork that is common among the Native Americans in the Southwestern United States. At the same time, it may possibly be the oldest textile art known to mankind.
Teachers First Crafts
Children in the American colonies frequently learned how to make toys and other crafts from the Native American children who lived nearby. The activities below illustrate some of the crafts, techniques, and materials which Native and Colonial children might have used for their toys and crafts.
Totem Poles, Present at the Creation
Since they were first noticed by European explorers in the 1700s, totem poles may have been misunderstood as frightening statues worshipped as gods. But some say early totem poles were actually billboards for powerful native families, announcing the privileges they enjoyed. NPR's Robert Smith traces the history of totem poles for the Present at the Creation series.
Porcupine Quillwork & Hair
Story Robes
Thousands of years ago, people recorded their history and beliefs on stone outcrops which dot the plains.
Surrounded By Beauty - Arts of Native America
There is no equivalent in the many Native American languages for the word art. Yet the objects here suggest that Native Americans are a highly spiritual people who create objects of extraordinary beauty. In Native American thought there is also no distinction between what is beautiful or functional, and what is sacred or secular. Design goes far beyond concerns of function, and beauty is much more than simple appearances.
The amauti (woman's parka) has a deep hood at the back in which babies and children are placed. In the film, this beautiful amauti was a gift to Atuat, Atanarjuat's first wife, during their emotional reunion after his return to Igloolik following a period of exile and recovery at the camp of the shaman Qulitalik. This amauti is made of caribou skin and features decorative fringes and an intricate overlay design on the front.
Beauty, Honor and Tradition: The Legacy of the Plains Indian Shirts
Few images of Native Americans are as iconic as that of a historic Plains Indian man wearing a fringed shirt, riding across the prairie on his trusty horse. This stereotypical image, etched into the minds of people of this country and Europe, and has been the object of many romanticized novels and television. Fortunately that image is only one insignificant interpretation of the role of Plains Indians Shirts; in reality, they act as a symbol of status, honor, and tradition for Plains Indian culture.
Plains Tipis
Tipis are so media-associated with Native American Indians that they have become a stereotype (it's easy to draw their simplified forms, too).
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