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Glossary


Antler: The entire horn, or any branch of the horn, of a stag.

Beads: Usually ball-shaped, beads were made out of glass for the purpose of decorating clothing and making jewellery. Manufactured in Europe, beads were valued by the people of the Great Plains, and traded for furs, pelts, and other objects. Beads quickly began to replace porcupine quills as the predominant mode of decorating clothing and footwear.

Bone: One of the pieces or parts of an animal skeleton; for example, a rib or a thigh bone; a bone of the arm or leg; also, any fragment of bony substance.

Buffalo pound: A fenced enclosure constructed by Great Plains hunters to trap buffalo. The motif often appears in the abstract on native clothing and footwear.

Great Plains: A vast area of flat grasslands and rolling hills that stretches from the North Saskatchewan River south to Texas, and from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Great Lakes in the east.

Hide: The raw or dressed pelt of large animals such as cow, moose, caribou or buffalo.

Moccasin: A shoe made of deerskin, or other semi-tanned hide in which the soft sole and the upper, or part of the upper, are continuous.

Porcupine quills, quillwork: The defensive spines of a porcupine are called 'quills'. The indigenous people of the Great Plains used them frequently for decorating clothes and footwear, particularly before contact with Europeans.

Tipi: A tent used by people of the Great Plains; usually of conical shape and made out of animal hide.

Thunderbird: The spirit of thunder and lightning believed by some Native North Americans to take the shape of a great bird.