You are here:

Native American Culture/Origin of Native American Clothing


NA Vest Men\'s
NA Vest Men's  

NA Vest Women\'s
NA Vest Women's  
I have 2 leather vests about which I would like to know more information. I think they are of Cree or perhaps Ojibwa manufacture as they come from northern Manitoba.  They were made around 1971 for a rural doctor who worked in that area.

Vest #1 features 12” beaded fringe on the front and back, with 2 ½” fringe along the bottom. It has two 4” long, hand-beaded flower appliques on the front and one 4” applique of an Alberta Wild Rose on the back.

Vest #2 has 4 ½” fringe on the front, back and around the bottom.  It is lined and has horizontal, “S” shaped pattern, hand-bead work in blue and clear beads on the front and back of the vest.

I would like to know from which tribe they come, and the significance any of the symbols in the beadwork – specifically the “S” pattern on the men’s vest (my brother attended a Powwow in Regina recently and noticed that a VIP was wearing an almost identically designed vest).

Thanks for any help you can give.


For value specifics, you'll really need to speak with a Canadian dealer in these kinds of trade goods. These utilize commercially tanned deerskin, from what I can tell, and appear to be items made for sale or possible made as dance regalia. They are sewn on a machine. The beadwork is typical for the floral patterns and fiddlehead patterns popular among the Northern Lakes tribes, but the design and style is not enough to confirm that these are Native made. There are lots of non-Indian hobbyists who do perfectly nice replica work. Hope this helps

Native American Culture

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.