Symbols of Power in Clothing Worn by the Plains Indians
Objectives: Students will be able to:
Skills Addressed: Linguistic, Spatial, Intrapersonal.
Interdisciplinary Connections: English/Language Arts, Art, Social Studies.
Length: Two fifty-minute class periods.
Materials: Paper and colored pencils/markers/paints -or- white shirt, fabric paint, dyes, string, buttons, scissors, (and anything else you can think of to decorate a T-shirt).
Products: Student-designed T-shirt (paper or fabric), 1 to 3 journal entries.
Content Introduction: Power shirts, often made of tanned animal hides and adorned with objects such as fur, beads, and locks of hair, were highly important in the culture of many plains tribes, including the Sioux, Cheyenne, Crow, Arapaho, Comanche, Kiowa, Pawnee, Omaha, Mandan, Hidatsa, Gros Ventre, Blackfeet, Cree, Ojibwe, Arikara, Lakota, Dakota and others. These shirts, which were associated very closely with the identity of their wearer, present various symbols representing success in war, spirituality, special abilities, and outstanding achievements.