The Beading Techniques of the Northern Cree Indians

By Laura Kalinowski ; Updated September 15, 2017
The Cree Indians inhabited northeastern Canada and the United States.

Beadwork holds significant cultural influence in all Native American culture. This detailed expression of life varies drastically in use and style depending on tribe, and even region. The Northern Cree Indians employed a particular style of beadwork that is still created and sold today.

Bead Materials

The Europeans introduced the Crees to glass, and from then on glass was largely used for beadwork. However, prior to this introduction, the Crees would use natural materials in beadwork, including shells, animal bones, wood, stones, copper and even teeth.

Beadwork Patterns

Patterns of beadwork varied by tribe and region, and often resembled or paid homage to natural elements of the area. Northern Cree Indians often used flower designs in their beadwork. Beaded flowers allowed for the use of varying colors and materials.

Bead Products

Beadwork created by the Northern Crees was most often created to adorn leather objects like moccasins, ceremonial dress, or wampum belts. They were also woven into strands that would be worn as jewelry or headdresses.

Beading Process

The beadwork created by the Northern Cree Indians was either created by sewing on beads individually, or attaching strands of beads to a material like leather. To create strands, the crafter would string the beads onto a material like wire or thread, and then attach that material to another by sewing.

About the Author

Laura Kalinowski has been a professional writer since 2001. She has written for print, television and online publications, including "The Weekly Standard" and Wisconsin Public Television. Kalinowski holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.