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December 28, 2008

Beads In History (My Version) -Part I

Antique glass trade beads photo copyright 2008

Shreve (The Daily Coyote) Stockton talking  about making jewelry from Porcupine quills on her latest BlogTV video reminded me. I've been wanting to write/right my own take on Beads In History. 

In olden days before Europeans began landing in North America in droves, Native American beading women made beads from Porcupine quills. 

Just obtaining a Porcupine was an undertaking.  
Then removing, trimming, washing and dying the quills. 
Pricked sore fingers and aching muscles, so much tiring work even before beading could begin. (Let's not even get into cooking Porcupine.)

Then one day word began to spread that the Europeans had something new and amazing, long strings of glorious glass beads in many colors. 
No plucking, no pricking, no washing no dying. Straight to sewing and stringing.

There would be no peace at home until the crafty women had those beads.

Soon the ambitious Dutch, anxious to settle the island between 2 rivers, they called New Amsterdam, offered to buy the island from the local Native Americans for a cache of those prized European beads.

The Native American men knew they didn't own the land the Dutch wanted nor any other land. 
Believing land was for everyone's use. 
But they thought about returning home to their beading wives and mothers without the shiny glass beads and they wanted peace.

So shaking hands, they took the Dutchmen's beads and hurried off  leaving the smug settlers thinking they had just pulled off the real estate deal of the ages. 

History for true beaders.

Little Star learning to bead from her Grandmother
from my book, LITTLE STAR.  (note: They are Plains Indians,).

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