Plains Indian Art (Photo Diary)


The Great Plains is the huge area in the central portion of the North American continent which stretches from the Canadian provinces in the north, almost to the Gulf of Mexico in the south, from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Mississippi River in the east. This is an area which contains many different kinds of habitat: flatland, dunes, hills, tablelands, stream valleys, and mountains. It is a dry region and lacks trees except along rivers and streams. Plains Indians are those which are most often stereotyped by movies and other media as representing all Indians. The buffalo, the horse, and the tipi are all important items in Plains cultures. Shown below are some of the items from the Plains First Nations which are on display at the Portland Art Museum.



While the moccasins shown above are common on the Plains and are frequently highly decorated, it should be pointed out that now all Indian cultures in North American used moccasins.



While the Hollywood stereotype of the Plains Indians shows them riding their horses barebacked, virtually all good museums of Plains Indian cultures will include traditional saddles, such as that shown above.








The ceiling in the Plains Indian exhibit area is interesting in that it seems to invoke the circular form of the tipi or the form of the Sun Dance Lodge.