Native Americans
Native American Jewelry

Native American Jewelry
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.53

     challenging words:    blacksmithing, vibrant, wampum, creativity, circular, lifestyle, nomadic, supposedly, determination, strands, material, bridle, collection, traveled, natural, works
     content words:    Native Americans, Many Native Americans, New England, North America, Southwest United States, Atsidi Sanni, Fort Defiance, Navajo Indian, Many Indians, One Sioux Holy Man

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Native American Jewelry
By Colleen Messina

1     If you like the idea of rings on your fingers and bells on your toes, you are not alone. Throughout history, many cultures have expressed their creativity through beautiful jewelry. The Native Americans developed unique jewelry using beads, metal, and gems.
2     Many Native Americans made beads out of many natural materials. They used shells, turquoise, coral, copper and silver, wood, ivory, amber, and different parts of animals they hunted. When the colonists brought glass beads from Europe, the Indians quickly made them part of their culture. In fact, the Indians were so fascinated by beads that they sold the island that is now called Manhattan for a collection of beads and trinkets worth about $16 in the early 1600s.
3     The earliest beads came from the long bones of mammals and birds. The Indians used the claws, hooves, and teeth for ornaments, too. Many Native Americans in the East also used walrus teeth and even made ear pendants out of them. They carved them in the form of birds, animals, and fish. Next time you eat a chicken leg, imagine trying to carve some jewelry out of it. It took a great deal of patience and determination to create jewelry from bones.

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