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Native Americans had once lived closely with the land around them, relying on the animals and plants for food, shelter, clothing, and even medicines. However, as times changed and white trappers, the military, and settlers arrived, changes in their everyday lives were imminent. 

The changes the Lakota had gone through touched every aspect of their culture, spirituality, and daily etiquette. For example, as the buffalo, who the Lakota heavily relied on, were hunted to the brick of extinction, Lakota became more reliant on cotton, canvas and wool blend materials, instead of their more traditional buffalo, deer and elk hides. These subtle changes, which might not seem much, threw the Lakota (and other Native Americans) into Cultural disarray.

Why such a drastic statement, well, the use of hides, feathers and quills not only provided physical coverings for the people, but spiritual connections between the people and animals were intertwined into the fabric used. A good example of this loss of culture through the changes in fabric can be seen in this image of the 3 boys before and after what is called assimilation. Native American, Fabrics and Fashion, Hanblechia Designs, Melvin War Eagle, Pow Wow, Native American Culture, Native American Art, USA History, Cotton Fabrics, Gone are the identifications of a individuals tribal people, the symbols and colors that once showed others their achievements and standing among the people, even showing their own family lines could no longer be seen, and therefore the appropriate etiquette lost.

 

 The Lakota, like other Native Americans, could of fallen completely into Cultural oblivion at this time.  However, because of their strong sense of self, and their people, they held on to their identifications by evolving to the changes around them. A good example here would be in this next image. Instead of abandoning their Cultural symbols, they were combined within the new fabrics being worn and therefore, handed down through the family and people, never losing their significance and connection. 

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This small act of changing and evolving with the circumstances that faced them during this time, meant that today our people are still able to carry on many of the traditions, understandings, and values practiced by the ancestors.

This can be clearly seen at the modern day Pow Wow (Wacipi). If you ask a dancer about his regalia, he will tell you the significance of the design and color; a true testimony to the efforts our ancestors made to keep our Culture alive and thriving.

 

Melvin War Eagle

Artist / Designer/ Founder

Hanblechia Designs