Native American Pin Vest

In days gone by, small to medium pins were commonly worn on blazer lapels, sweaters, coats, jackets, scarves. clutch purses and hats…………pins were a fashion staple.

See the slide show below for samples of classic Navajo pins.

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A brooch is a large decorative piece of jewelry pinned to a sweater or dress to complete and outfit and make a bold statement. Large grandmother pins can be thought of as a brooch.

 

Native American artists have made many styles of pins over the years and continue to do so today.  They range in size from tie tacks and hat pins all the way up to large petit point pins and employ all types of animals, symbols and designs.

See the slide show below for samples of Zuni, Hopi and Navajo symbols.

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Although I have written about ways to use pins in previous blog posts, truth be told, I rarely use pins unless it is as a pendant, using a pin-to-pendant converter.

See these articles:

Pins Make a Comeback

Native American Pins 

Native American Pins Beautify Handbags

Like many Native American jewelry aficionados, I have accumulated quite a few pins and rather than just look at them in a drawer or box, I decided to use a denim vest to display some of them.

See the slide show below for examples of animal pins.

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Butterfly pins are popular by both Zuni and Navajo artists.

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Cluster and grandmother pins are made by both Zuni and Navajo artists.

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Paula

Book Look: Zuni Fetishes and Carvings by Kent McManis

We have many fetish reference books in the store but the one I reach for first is “Zuni Fetishes and Carvings” by Kent McManis.

There is a first edition (left) and second edition (right)

The first 37 pages are devoted to “The Power of the Fetish” and discuss the symbolism and usage of the various fetishes. The section is organized by animals and human forms: owls, badgers, maidens to mention just a few.

Claudia Peina – Zuni
Warrior Maiden Carving

The next 34 pages discuss the various materials the Zuni artists use in carving and decorating their fetishes.

Emery Boone – Zuni
Horse Fetish Carving of Pipestone with inlay

The next few pages discuss the art of carving.

Antler carving of eagle taking rabbit

The next 55 pages are devoted to the Zuni carving families telling a brief history of the family. Each family section includes a detailed family tree. There are also examples of pieces made by various members of each family.

An ammonite bear by the Laiwakete family.

The book closes with a brief guide to collecting, indexes and so on.  See the slide show below of various buffalo fetish carvings.

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This is a valuable book for the Zuni fetish collector.

Paula

Sadly we lost our mentor and friend Kent McManis earlier this year. His passion lives on and he is held in high regard.

Native American Pins Beautify Handbags

If you are like me and have been a Native American jewelry aficionado for years, you likely have a drawer full of beautiful pins – in my case they are Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and Lakota pins that haven’t seen the light of day for a while.

I do wear a pin on a shirt every now and then but they really need to be showcased more often.

One way to feature a large pin is solo on a special handbag. Here is a gorgeous 3″ x 2 1/4″ vintage pin on a stunning Estellon bag from France (the clutch was a gift from a dear friend in Paris and I had the perfect large pin for it!).

Below are a few large pins that would be perfect for solo use on a handbag.

Another way to showcase a large group is to round up all your horses and pin them onto a fabric bag.

This incredibly cool denim handbag was made from a pair of Wrangler jeans and just cries out for horse pins !  Alright, maybe I overloaded it, but nobody wanted to be left out!

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Here are some horse pins like the ones I have on my bag. Click to see more.

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Happy Pinning !! Paula

What is a Ketoh, Bowguard (Bow Guard) or Wrist Guard?

 

When shooting a bow, depending on the bow but more importantly, the anatomy, musculature and skill of the archer, it is possible for the bow string to contact the inside of the arm that is holding the bow.

Examples of various archers to illustrate the above point.

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When the bow string contacts the inside of the arm, it results in “string slap”. Here are some examples of the after effects of “string slap”. The location of the injury will vary depending on the person and the bow.

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To protect the inner arm from string slap, arms guards can be used. They can be full length or partial. Partial arm guards are usually centered on the inner forearm (bow guard) or at the wrist (wrist guard).

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Native Americans were skilled with their bows but with the frequent use for hunting and protection, in all types of weather, in variety of positions and when fatigued, it is easy to see why bow guards and wrist guards were used. At first they were just wide strips of the heaviest hide leather. Later other stiff materials such as metal were added.

Navajo began making bowguards are early as 1895; some say earlier.  The Navajo bowguard is called a ketoh. It consists of a metal plate affixed to a leather wrist or arm piece.

The metal plate is either wrought or cast.

A wrought piece is one that has been made from metal either cold (no heat) or using a fire (forge) and hand tools. The term wought is most often used to describe the shaping, altering and molding of various metals using a hammer. In the case of Navajo silver work, this often includes stamping and repousse work. (Repousse is a method of forming a pattern on metal by stamping, hammering or pressing a design from the back to produce a three-dimensional bas-relief surface on the front.)

Indian Silverwork of the Southwest, Illustrated Volume One Harry P. Mera

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See the slide show below for examples of modern wrought pieces.

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A cast piece is one that has been made using a mold and molten metal. Early cast pieces were sand cast. Today they are usually tufa cast. Read more about casting in my previous post Native American Cast Jewelry.

Indian Silverwork of the Southwest, Illustrated Volume One Harry P. Mera

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See the slide show below for examples of modern cast pieces.

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Following are some more historical examples of bow guards from this book.

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Today decorated ketohs and Plains beaded wrist guards are mainly worn for ceremonial and social occasions, including dancing at pow wows. See the slide show below for examples of modern beaded Lakota wrist guards.

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There has been a recent surge in popularity of bow guards as a jewelry item including smaller ketohs for women. See the photo group below for examples of womens’ ketohs.

Following is a slide show that that show the various ways ketohs can be worn. The sky is the limit as to where you position your ketoh and how you tie it on.

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Paula

Old Bee Stamp on Vintage Navajo Jewelry

This bracelet, likely from 1920s- 1940s (per some learned colleagues) has a distinctive bee stamp on it.

This stamp has been linked to some very old jewelry but so far I have not been able to pin down who might have made this stamp or who used it.

If you have any information on the bee stamp, I’d love to know.

Thanks, Paula

How Can I Tell My Ring Size?

Hi Paula,

I love the pinky ring size 3 1/2 but how can I tell my ring size?

Size 3 1/2 ring by Benson Ration

Karen

Hi Karen,

The best way is to take a ring that fits well to a jeweler and have them measure it on their ring sizer.

Measuring on a ring sizer

Alternatively, you can measure your finger and use the chart on our website to find the proper ring size. (I’ve posted the chart below.)

Ernest Shirley

Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com

A good way to find your comfortable ring size is to find a ring that fits and measure its inside diameter, the distance across the center of the opening. Then find that measurement in the left column of the chart below and follow that row to the right to see your ring size. You could also measure your finger’s circumference with a cloth tape measure or string and then measure that with a ruler and compare it to inside circumference in the table. Also, most jewelers have a set of sizing rings that you can slip on your fingers to find your ring size. Just as with bracelets, if you are buying a WIDE ring, you will need to buy a little bit bigger ring than you would if you were buying a ring with a narrow band.

Ring Size Chart

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Inside
Dia.
inches
Inside
Dia.
mm
Inside
Circum.
inches
Inside
Circum.
mm
Number Sizes:
US/Canada
Letter Sizes:
British, Irish,
Australian
Japanese Swiss
0.458 11.6 1.438 36.5 0
0.466 11.8 1.463 37.2 1/4
0.474 12.0 1.488 37.8 1/2 A
0.482 12.2 1.513 38.4 3/4 A 1/2
0.490 12.4 1.539 39.1 1 B 1
0.498 12.6 1.564 39.7 1 1/4 B 1/2
0.506 12.9 1.589 40.4 1 1/2 C
0.514 13.1 1.614 41.0 1 3/4 C 1/2
0.522 13.3 1.639 41.6 2 D 2 1.50
0.530 13.5 1.664 42.3 2 1/4 D 1/2
0.538 13.7 1.689 42.9 2 1/2 E 3 2.75
0.546 13.9 1.714 43.5 2 3/4 E 1/2
0.554 14.1 1.740 44.2 3 F 4 4.00
0.562 14.3 1.765 44.8 3 1/4 F 1/2 5 5.25
0.570 14.5 1.790 45.5 3 1/2 G
0.578 14.7 1.815 46.1 3 3/4 G 1/2 6 6.50
0.586 14.9 1.840 46.7 4 7
0.594 15.1 1.865 47.4 4 1/4 H 1/2 7.75
0.602 15.3 1.890 48.0 4 1/2 8
0.610 15.5 1.915 48.7 4 3/4 J 9.00
0.618 15.7 1.941 49.3 5 J 1/2 9
0.626 15.9 1.966 49.9 5 1/4 K 10.00
0.634 16.1 1.991 50.6 5 1/2 K 1/2 10
0.642 16.3 2.016 51.2 5 3/4 L 11.75
0.650 16.5 2.041 51.8 6 L 1/2 11 12.75
0.658 16.7 2.066 52.5 6 1/4 12
0.666 16.9 2.091 53.1 6 1/2 M 1/2 13 14.00
0.674 17.1 2.116 53.8 6 3/4 N
0.682 17.3 2.141 54.4 7 N 1/2 14 15.25
0.690 17.5 2.167 55.0 7 1/4
0.698 17.7 2.192 55.7 7 1/2 O 1/2 15 16.50
0.706 17.9 2.217 56.3 7 3/4
0.714 18.1 2.242 56.9 8 P 1/2 16 17.75
0.722 18.3 2.267 57.6 8 1/4
0.730 18.5 2.292 58.2 8 1/2 Q 1/2 17
0.738 18.7 2.317 58.9 8 3/4 R 19
0.746 18.9 2.342 59.5 9 R 1/2 18
0.754 19.2 2.368 60.1 9 1/4 S 20.25
0.762 19.4 2.393 60.8 9 1/2 S 1/2 19
0.770 19.6 2.418 61.4 9 3/4 T 21.5
0.778 19.8 2.443 62.1 10 T 1/2 20
0.786 20.0 2.468 62.7 10 1/4 U 21
0.794 20.2 2.493 63.3 10 1/2 U 1/2 22 22.75
0.802 20.4 2.518 64.0 10 3/4 V
0.810 20.6 2.543 64.6 11 V 1/2 23
0.818 20.8 2.569 65.2 11 1/4 W 25
0.826 21.0 2.594 65.9 11 1/2 W 1/2 24
0.834 21.2 2.619 66.5 11 3/4 X
0.842 21.4 2.644 67.2 12 X 1/2 25 27.50
0.850 21.6 2.669 67.8 12 1/4
0.858 21.8 2.694 68.4 12 1/2 Z 26 28.75
0.866 22.0 2.719 69.1 12 3/4 Z 1/2
0.874 22.2 2.744 69.7 13 27
0.882 22.4 2.769 70.3 13 1/4 Z1
0.890 22.6 2.795 71.0 13 1/2
0.898 22.8 2.820 71.6 13 3/4 Z2
0.906 23.0 2.845 72.3 14 Z3
0.914 23.2 2.870 72.9 14 1/4
0.922 23.4 2.895 73.5 14 1/2 Z4
0.930 23.6 2.920 74.2 14 3/4
0.938 23.8 2.945 74.8 15
0.946 24.0 2.970 75.4 15 1/4
0.954 24.2 2.996 76.1 15 1/2
0.962 24.4 3.021 76.7 15 3/4
0.970 24.6 3.046 77.4 16

Paula

Paula busy at work

NATIVE AMERICAN WISDOM

 

American Indian Commandments
Sacred Instructions Given By The Creator To Native People At The Time Of Creation

Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.
Remain close to the Great Spirit.
Show great respect for your fellow beings.
Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.
Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
Do what you know to be right.
Look after the well being of mind and body.
Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
Be truthful and honest at all times.
Take full responsibility for your actions.

Navajo Pendant – First People

Native Code of Ethics
1. Each morning upon rising, and each evening before sleeping, give thanks for the life within you and for all life, for the good things the Creator has given you and for the opportunity to grow a little more each day. Consider your thoughts and actions of the past day and seek for the courage and strength to be a better person. Seek for the things that will benefit others (everyone).

Zuni Man

2. Respect: Respect means “To feel or show honor or esteem for someone or something; to consider the well being of, or to treat someone or something with deference or courtesy”. Showing respect is a basic law of life.

Treat every person from the tiniest child to the oldest elder with respect at all times. Special respect should be given to Elders, Parents, Teachers, and Community Leaders.
No person should be made to feel “put down” by you; avoid hurting other hearts as you would avoid a deadly poison.
Touch nothing that belongs to someone else (especially Sacred Objects) without permission, or an understanding between you.

Respect the privacy of every person, never intrude on a person’s quiet moment or personal space.

Never walk between people that are conversing.

Lakota Stick

Never interrupt people who are conversing.

Speak in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of Elders, strangers or others to whom special respect is due.

Do not speak unless invited to do so at gatherings where Elders are present (except to ask what is expected of you, should you be in doubt).

Never speak about others in a negative way, whether they are present or not.

Treat the earth and all of her aspects as your mother. Show deep respect for the mineral world, the plant world, and the animal world. Do nothing to pollute our Mother, rise up with wisdom to defend her.

Navajo beaded bracelets – sacred animal world.

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Show deep respect for the beliefs and religion of others.

Listen with courtesy to what others say, even if you feel that what they are saying is worthless. Listen with your heart.

Respect the wisdom of the people in council. Once you give an idea to a council meeting it no longer belongs to you. It belongs to the people. Respect demands that you listen intently to the ideas of others in council and that you do not insist that your idea prevail. Indeed you should freely support the ideas of others if they are true and good, even if those ideas are quite different from the ones you have contributed. The clash of ideas brings forth the Spark of Truth.

Chief’s Pipe

3. Once a council has decided something in unity, respect demands that no one speak secretly against what has been decided. If the council has made an error, that error will become apparent to everyone in its own time.

4. Be truthful at all times, and under all conditions.

5. Always treat your guests with honor and consideration. Give of your best food, your best blankets, the best part of your house, and your best service to your guests.

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Sterling Silver Navajo Cup

6. The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honor of one is the honor of all.

7. Receive strangers and outsiders with a loving heart and as members of the human family.

8. All the races and tribes in the world are like the different colored flowers of one meadow. All are beautiful. As children of the Creator they must all be respected.

9. To serve others, to be of some use to family, community, nation, and the world is one of the main purposes for which human beings have been created. Do not fill yourself with your own affairs and forget your most important talks. True happiness comes only to those who dedicate their lives to the service of others.

10. Observe moderation and balance in all things.

11. Know those things that lead to your well-being, and those things that lead to your destruction.

12. Listen to and follow the guidance given to your heart. Expect guidance to come in many forms; in prayer, in dreams, in times of quiet solitude, and in the words and deeds of wise Elders and friends.

Navajo Pin Pendant

This article is a reprint from the “Inter-Tribal Times” – October 1994

+++++++++++++

Love of the Land
The old people came literally to love the soil, and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.
Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth, and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew.
The soul was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing. This is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly.
He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
– Chief Luther Standing Bear –
Teton Sioux, Born 1868

Lakota Buffalo Stick

Native American Prayer
Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty
and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things your have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

Zuni Maiden

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.

– Chief Yellow Lark –
Lakota –

Lakota Doll

What is Life
What is Life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time.
It is the little shadow
which runs across the grass
and loses itself in the Sunset.
– Crowfoot –
Blackfoot Indian

Lakota Ledger Art

 

By Chief Seattle
“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone,
Man would die from
a great loneliness of the spirit.
For whatever happens to the beasts
soon happens to man.”

Mother Earth Turtle Lakota Sage Bag

The Teaching of Tecumseh
Live your life that the fear of death
can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views
and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life,
beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long
and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day
when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting
or passing a friend, or even a stranger,if in a lonely place
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.
Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die, be not like those
whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again
in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

Zuni Warrior Maiden

Paula