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Native American Culture/Help IDing Beadwork Purses


I purchased these beaded purses as Native American from the 1940's.  Can you provide any information on them? Thank you.


Susan, there is always a problem of determining authenticity with beadwork. Many hobbyists and non-Indian craftspeople do both stitched and loomed beadwork. I'm not familiar with three of them at all, the ones using looped beading and metallic bead, so I can;t offer any information on those. The flat loom beaded white change purse, though carries a color scheme and symbols that might identify its maker as working within the Northern Plains tradition, Lakota or Cheyenne, probably. The thunderbird/lodge motif is also used further south, but the white background is normally one of those. There isn't anything in the way the purse is assembled to indicate the origins, however. Hope this helps.

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Richard Sutton


As a direct reservation trader in all aspects of American Indian arts since 1985, I've answered questions regarding cultural property issues, origins of traditional crafts, materials and techniques, collecting, authenticity, symbols and, of course, repairs! We have operated a retail gallery since that time, bricks and mortar until 2007 and online since 1996. Our online operation closed in 2/2015, to allow me to finally write full-time. My writing site can be found at I'll be adding a book or two from our trader experiences under the pen name of W.T. Durand and the rest of my fiction is under my own name. We are not "New Age" practitioners of adopted American Indian religious ceremonies or combined philosophies. If you are seeking such knowledge for spiritual reasons, we will only provide answers that address factual information on these subjects. Unless one is raised in a traditional, American Indian family with language, culture and religious belief intact, we don't believe that simply applying the trappings or cultural property of a given traditional group will give a non-Indian (Native if you prefer)any insight other than the academic.


My primary focus is on Southwester American Indian Nations and their people, but I also have experience in Plains and Northeastern traditions, having engaged in active trade and retail since 1985 and study for most of my life. I am not claiming any expertise at all in the work, techniques, lifeways or crafts that are made by the Native People of Mexico. They are not the same, either linguistically or culturally but certainly their crafts deserve discussion and appraisal by those who are able to provide real information.

I was a guest on Fox Network "Lifestyles" program, during the 1990s, to discuss how to tell forgeries, and authenticating jewelry as Native American work. I have also written extensively for our website, and our Ebay Store.

UofO, 1970 active in the Authentic American Indian Arts business and direct Trader since 1985. Graphic Designer and published novelist.

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