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Lesson Plan: Dakota, Nakota, Lakota Life (Beadwork Designs)

Date Created 11/14/2014 1:47:13 PM
Grade Level Pre-K
Category Fine Arts
Social Studies

Supporting Materials & Additional Resources

BeadworkDLN.pdf Lesson Plan
Video Courtesy: South Dakota Public Broadcsting


Lesson Plan: Dakota, Nakota, Lakota Life (Beadwork Designs)

Provided by the South Dakota State Historical Society

Lesson Plan
(Lesson also found lower left - PDF)

• Participants will explain in their own words the relationship between beadwork and quillwork.
• Participants will identify eight designs used in Sioux beadwork.
• Participants will design their own beadwork pattern.

Background Information:

Porcupine quills are smooth hollow tubes with a barbed point on one end. After being colored with natural dyes, the quills were wrapped, braided, or sewn onto clothing and household objects. Quill designs used bars, oblongs and rectangles. Until white traders brought colorful beads to trade in the 1830s, quillwork predominated over beadwork.

The first beadwork was done in long, narrow bands using the same bars, oblongs and rectangles seen in quillwork. The squares and rectangles were often surrounded by a border of contrasting color. The bands of beadwork were used on leggings, robes and blankets, pipe bags, cradles and saddle bags. In the 1880s, Sioux beadwork designs adopted new elements. Elongated diamonds and pronged designs were used along with traditional rectangles, squares, triangles, and lines. The hourglass design also developed. A wider variety of colors began to be used, with green, yellow, and blue joining the favorite red. White was the most common background color with medium or light blue the next favorite background.

Activity Steps:
1. Share the background information with the group. Discuss:
- What was used to decorate items before traders brought beads?
- What kinds of designs were used in quillwork and early beadwork?
2. Give each participant a copy of the Beading Designs Worksheet to complete. When everyone has finished the worksheet, discuss:
Dakota, Nakota, Lakota Life
South Dakota State Historical Society Education Kit
- Do the design names make sense when you see the design?
- What are some of the designs that were inspired by natural things? (dragonfly, turtle, lightning)
- What are some of the designs inspired by manmade things? (tipi)
3. Have each participant use their crayons or markers to create their own beadwork design on drawing paper. They can use designs from the worksheet as well as the ones described in the background information – rectangles, oblongs, squares, triangles, diamonds and lines. Common beadwork colors would include red, blue, yellow, and green, but other colors may also be used

SouthSouth Dakota DOE - Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards (OSEUS)


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