Friday, September 13, 2013

Native American Shields

The shield is a significant part of life for many plains indians such as the Sioux, Crow and Kiawa tribes.  While some of these shields took various shapes, the circular shield was most popular.  Circular objects played an important part of daily life; floor of the tipis, camp fire circle and even the sun and the moon. There are two different shields used in the tribes, one was a war shield that was usually fairly small in size, only about 20-22".   The other was a medicine shield, thought to provide protection from the spirit world.  The men in the native american community would go on a vision quest to discover what animal would lead them through life.  The vision was brought to the medicine man who would then help interpret and reveal this into a symbol that would be depicted on their shield. The shields with their symbol would teach, lead, and protect the man.  As the young man progressed in the tribe, he would add additional paintings, feathers, beads and even scalps. These shields were created by my kindergarteners, they were asked to create an image in the center as well as a pattern on the outside edge of the shield.  Markers were used to color.  Once this was done they crumbled their shields to give it the texture like the buffalo skins and add a brown crayon rubbing in the open spaces.  Then, we added a cardboard and yarn backing to so that the kids could place it on their arm like a true indian warrior. 

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