Classic Native American Art Pieces

When decorating your home, especially if you live in the Southwest, it could be culturally appropriate to use authentic Native American art. However, each piece of Native American art has a very specific meaning. Here is a list of the most popular pieces, and their cultural significance:

Dream Catcher

When you think of Native American art, the first thing that comes to mind is usually a dream catcher. Many children use dream catchers to catch their bad dreams above their heads before they have to have them. This is obviously not the original meaning of the piece. 

Originally, the dream catcher was founded off of the mythology of the Spider Woman. The Spider Woman took care of all of the children in the tribe, but once the tribe had spread to all parts of the nation, she could no longer reach them all. Once this happened, the mothers of the children would sew sinew and cords together and hang them over the heads of even the smallest children. These dream catchers would filter any thoughts flowing through the child's head and only allow good thoughts and dreams through, all bad dreams would be caught in the web and would disappear with morning light.

Totem Pole

Another rather misused Native American art piece is that of the totem pole. Totem poles are created using the wood of native trees, such as pine and red cedar. The carvings put into totem poles usually symbolize either a specific tribe or clan, or different legends. Since totem poles can have so many meanings, and so many usages, ensure that you know what a piece means before you place it in your home.

Woven Baskets

Woven baskets are of less cultural importance and more traditional value for their use. Woven baskets were usually created from plants that were harvested on the tribe's land, and dyed a variety of bright colors. Many times the pictures on the baskets represent local flora and fauna, like cacti from the Sonoran desert. 

Ute Bead Work

The Ute tribe is a tribe that mainly inhabits Colorado and Utah, but they have made themselves famous through their unique bead work. The Ute people would add small beads made of animal bones to many different piece of clothing, wall art, and children's toys. These bead are beautiful for your home because there is no cultural significance behind them, so you will not accidentally offend anyone.

Talk to native art dealers for more information.