NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art

Elk Hide Chopper Mittens


Examples of Native American Mittens and Gloves

Elk Hide Chopper Mittens
(Prindle 1997).

Inuit (Eskimo) Woven-grass
Inuit (Eskimo) Woven-grass and Leather Mittens [Miles 1963]

Mittens, Eastern Cree
Mittens, Eastern Cree,
c. 1840's [Johnson 1990]
<< Cree mittens made of caribou hide,
they usually have silk-embroidered floral designs - silk thread
replaced animal hair for embroidery in many regions. (City of
Sheffield Museum, MGH photograph).

Moccasins & Mittens
Moccasins & Mittens, Ontario, contemporary. [Coe 1986]

^^ Moccasins and mittens by Sarah Lavalley, Algonquin, Golden Lake Reserve, Ontario. The moccasins were commissioned directly from Mrs. Lavalley, a tall, refined woman in her late eighties. She included the mittens as a bonus. "The style is a pattern used in 1895, the stitching is the same." To make these objects Mrs. Lavalley used a home-tanned hide obtained from a neighboring German woman "who works to order for us." [Coe 1986]

Chippewa Buckskin 'hand'
Chippewa Buckskin 'hand' sent as war summons. [Densmore 1979]
^^^If the matter were of great importance the messenger might carry the representation of a hand with which the Chippewa were accustomed to seal important agreements. The sue of such a representation was described by an old warrior, Niskigwun, and the 'hand' was made under his direction. It is a replica of a hand, which according to his statement, was used in summoning the Chippewa to the expeditions which drove the Sioux out of western Wisconsin and northern and eastern Minnesota, and resulted in the distribution of the Chippewa over a large part of the conquered territory. Niskigwun took part in this expedition. The 'hand' is life size, made of buckskin, and lightly filled with moss. There is an opening at the side of the wrist which tobacco was placed, and the 'hand' is smeared with red paint to represent blood. When sent to the warriors a pipe was laid across the palm of the hand, the fingers were folded over it, and the whole was wrapped securely in cloth or buckskin.

Gauntlet gloves, Teton Dakota

Gauntlet gloves, Teton Dakota type; late nineteenth, early twentieth century. [Hail 1980]

Commercially manufactured leather gloves with wide cuff of Native-tanned deer hide added, fringe inserted at juncture; muslin lining; porcupine quill decoration on cuffs; inside, spider web motif; outside, geometric designs in two-thread, one-quill, straight sewing, red background, purple, yellow, white; sinew thread; green silk ribbons.

Heavy 'store' gloves like those the cowboys wore became popular among Indians as well but were decorated to make them more handsome. Small stitches and narrow rows make this an exceptionally fine piece of quillwork. The spider web was a protective design of the Oglala Dakota.

Gauntlet Gloves, Santee Dakota

Gauntlet Gloves, Santee Dakota; third quarter ninteenth century. Collected by Henry D. Banks in Minnesota, 1880s. HMA purchase 1979. [Hail 1980]

Native-tanned deer hide, embroidered on backs with small faceted glass seed beads in abstract floral and butterfly motif outlined in white; interior beading follows form; colors yellow, light and dark blue, white-core rose, translucent amber and dark green. The combination of butterfly and floral motifs is characteristic of Santee work.

Introduction to Native American Mittens & Gloves
Instructions for Chopper Mittens
Chopper Mitten Pattern For Child
Chopper Mitten Pattern For Adult

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