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Native American Culture/Plains indian antler handle knife.

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plain\'s indian knife
plain's indian knife  

plains indian knife
plains indian knife  
Hello Sir, I was kinda hoping you might tell me what I bought at a garage sale for $10.00. It says its a antler handled plains Indian knife. Its in a glass case and I don't want to take it out to exam it but it looks old. The shear size of the knife tells me its not authentic but it looks so real.? The knife itself is like 24" long and too big to carry on the warrior's side. I did ask the lady running the charity garage sale and all she could tell me was it was donated by a judge. Any information you can give me on it would really be appreciated. Thanks Jen

Answer
It is a very interesting piece, but I'm not sure it is that old. To my reye, the feathers appear to be banded turkey feathers which are by law (since 1999 50 CFR 22 Fish and Wildlife) among the feathers allowed for use in creating a trade item that simulates raptor feathers which are protected except in religious ceremony uses which require a Federal Permit. If this item had been made for ceremony then it would carry the correct feathers, not turkey feathers, but if it had owl or raptor feathers originally, it would not have been legal to sell, by virtue of the same statute. So, despite the use of a deer shin for a handle and a well-knapped flint blade, there is no real evidence that this is Native made, rather it might have been made by an accomplished hobbyist and unless the feathers were switched out, it was probably made for trade or as dance regalia at some time since 1999. Still, a very good use of $10, in any case.

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Richard Sutton

Expertise

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 www.sailletales.com 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.

Experience

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.

Publications
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, www.kivatrading.com and our Ebay Store.

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

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