Native American Crafts Eastern Woodland



Background Information
The Algonquian Indians hung dreamcatchers from cradleboards to protect their babies. They believed that the dreamcatcher would catch bad dreams and allow good dreams to pass through the web.

Visit this site for Directions on How to Make a Dreamcatcher:


Beading Beads Beads

Background Information
Each year Seminole women were given strings of beads on their birthdays. One new string was added each year until the women turned 40 years old. The necklaces covered the women's necks up to their ears and chin. When the women became 40 years old they began to lay one strand of beads aside year by year until only one strand was left. The Seminole women never went into public without the necklaces.

Directions for Making a "Bead" Necklace

  1. Teacher directions:
    Dye different shaped dry macaroni by placing a small amount of alcohol and food coloring into a plastic bag or jar. Add macaroni and shake the bag until the pasta changes color. Repeat with several different colors. Allow the macaroni to dry overnight before using.
  2. Student directions.
    1. Have students thread a large embroidery needle with a piece of yard.
    2. Have students string the colored pasta in an interesting pattern of their choice onto the yarn.
    3. Tie the two ends of the yarn together to form the necklace.
Medicine Bag Beaded Medicine Bag


Directions for Making a Bag

  1. Cut felt into pieces approximately 8 inches wide by 18 inches tall.
  2. Fold the bottom edge of the felt up 6 1/2 inches forming a pocket.
  3. Machine or hand sew the sides together at the 6 1/2 inch fold to form a pocket. Leave the top open.
  4. Fold the extra material from the top down to form a flap. (The medicine bag is folded similar to an envelop.)
  5. Sew an 18 to 30 inch piece of ribbon to the top sides of the medicine bag to form a handle.
  6. Students may need to plan a design on paper before sewing it into the top flap portion of the medicine bag with beads.
  7. While students do the bead work on their medicine bags read to them a book featuring the Algonquian Indians such as Little Firefly : An Algonquian Legend from the Native American Legend Series written by Terri Cohlene and published by Watermill Press.


Iroquois Mask

Iroquois Mask

Background Information

An injured or ill Iroquois India would sometimes ask the False Face Society to drive away the spirit of the illness or injury. The False Face Society wore masks carved from wood. After a new member joined the False Face Society he had to make his own mask.

To make the mask the Iroquois walked through the woods until he found a tree whose spirit talked to him. After talking to the tree, the Indian built a fire. He sprinkled tobacco, then stripped bark from the tree. Next the Indian outlined a face and cut out the section to the tree he had outlined. Then the Iroquois went into a secluded shelter to carve the mask. The mask was polished then decorated with hair, feathers, etc.

Have students make a mask from a Styrofoam meat container, yard,  felt, and feathers.

Bowl Game Sacred Bowl Game Sacred Bowl Game

Background Information

The Iroquois Indians played the Sacred Bowl Game during the last day of the "Ceremonial of Midwinter" which marked the end of the year. The wooden bowl was decorated with four clan symbols - the bear, wolf, turtle, and deer. To play the game a player placed the six nuts which were colored on one side inside the bowl and hit the bowl against the ground. If five of the six pits turned up the same color, the player scored and took another turn. The first player to reach 10 points wins the game.

Directions for making the Bowl Game

1.  Cut a circle from Contact paper to fit inside a basket paper plate holder. The wood grain Contact paper looks bests.

2.  Have students use black markers to decorate the circle.

3.  Peel the paper backing from the Contact paper and place the circle into the holder.

4.  Gather six flat nuts in the shell or peach pits. Have students color one side of the nuts with the black marker.



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