Friday, December 26, 2014

1st Nation Dances

This great card came from a very nice Canadian....always super to add a new card to my collection. Surprisingly, despite having a very rich native cultural presence, there seems to be relatively few 1st Nations postcards (with the exception of wood carving cards available in British Columbia). I often receive duplicates which I don't mind as each message is new & different, but it is nice to get a new design!!

Postcrossing profiles

An interesting feature of Postcrossing, the international postcard exchange site, is the profile section. Here members can add personal information including interests, preferences and more. My profile briefly discusses my Native card collection and occasionally members in the US, Canada, Mexico etc have kindly sent a card to add to my collection. But cards have a mysterious life, traveling all around the world in various ways. Recently I received a Mayan site card from a member in Switzerland
This card is an old souvenir, likely purchased by someone on holiday in Mexico in the 1960s. The Postcrosser found it in a second hand shop and now it resides happily in my binder of Mexican indigenous cards. The scene is the "House of the Doves" at Uxmal, a late Mayan site located in the Yucatan between the colonial city of Merida and the better known archaeological site of Chichen Itza. Uxmal is well known among scholars for its unusual architecture and elaborate stone carvings. I visited the site in the late 1980s; this card is a nice reminder of my own holiday which occurred long before I began collecting postcards.

Politics & Postcards

Recently I drew a name in Postcrossing who specifically asked for political cards offered by Donnelly & Colt. A Google search found their website and offerings; they are a small printer who also distributes a variety of political products and I purchased a few cards for my Postcrossing activities.
Among the offerings was this card, offering a slightly different version of posters etc that feature a photo of Geronimo. The real surprise is that the card includes the address and website info for the American Indian Movement! AIM developed in Minneapolis in the 1960s, helping recently relocated Native people adjust to urban life. Later it grew into a more aggressive political force confronting racism, tribal land issues, treaty rights and more. However violence marred the group's message and it declined as a leading voice for many Native Americans.
AIM PO Box 13521, Mpls MN 55414

the card is produced by Vision Works

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Card Giveaway

To celebrate Native American Heritage month I am giving away Native American postcards...if you would like to receive one please email me with your address at


An archaeologist in Canada sent me this wonderful card showing the new United Nations heritage site of Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump. The card has been issued by the Canadian Postal Service and Laura was so kind to special order it for me! Before horses became available First Nations hunters strategically moved bison herds close to cliffs and frightened them to jump off; many of these sites have very thick bone beds showing years of use.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Random act of kindness!

one of the nice aspects about participating in the international postcard group known as Postcrossing is making global friends and learning about their interests. One terrific gal in Indonesia has a broad collection (the word gigantic easily comes to mind!) but occasionally I find something special to send to her. In return she asked another user to send me a surprise thank you card, known in the group as a RAS (random act of smiles). This one came from Canada (with a super stamp depicting Sitting Bull & Buffalo Bill) and features contemporary Inuit art. The artist is eguer

Bison kill site

Prior to the arrival of European horses to the plains, all Native activity was done on foot, including buffalo hunting. To make this process easier, hunters steered the herd animals towards cliffs or box canyons making them easier to dispatch. Many of these sites were used for centuries, based upon the deep bone beds and associated stone butchering tools.
One site, Canada's Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump has been named as a UN heritage site and the Canadian PO has issued some special cards (one is coming from an archaeologist friend in Saskatoon) but in the meantime this great card was part of a trade

Stamps & Post Offices

back home the Post Office in Anadarko Oklahoma has murals painted by members of the Kiowa 5, an influential group of Kiowa artists who developed the flat painting style which was influenced by old ledger art. Many of the US Post Offices were painted during the 1930s under a government program designed to employ artists during the great economic depression. My Indiana post office also has a mural which I always enjoy depicts the pioneer times of NW Indiana of the 1830s or so.

Interestingly the Smithsonian Postal Museum is studying how Native people have been presented in all these old murals and paintings and discussed on their webpage:

Another exhibit examined how Native Americans have been presented on postage stamps...whenever I mail a Native themed postcard I use these old stamps which I obtain from a dealer in California and save just for the right cards.|s1%3D6|

Thanks to the staff at Smithsonian for recording and analyzing this type of public information!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Southwest travel

My Okie pen pal Gary loves to travel and stop at tourist attractions along the way. He also likes to buy tourist items...we are so much alike in this respect!! He recently drove from eastern Oklahoma out to the SW and bought postcards. He kindly sent me this one which offers an overview of Navajo arts: silverwork, weavings, pottery, bakset and stone sculpture. The items are in the Heard Museum collection. Gary also added a lovely blessing message which ends the "Creator is watching the People." Awesome, thanks Gary!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I received an Official card from a Postcrossing member that is a wonderful addition to my collection....I don't have very many Plateau/inter-montaine cards so this is nice
these Yakima leaders were in Washington, 1927, perhaps to discuss tribal concerns or treaty payments etc. The Government generally preferred that leaders not come to discuss matters but to just let the local Agents take care of problems. However the Tribes often went around those Agents who they felt were not receptive to ideas or who were oppositional.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ancient Mexico

a lovely card arrived today from Mexico showing the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacan. Its an old site located near Mexico City. The stone city was built and occupied 100BC-800AD by an early complex culture in the north part of the Valley before Mexica people even arrived. Art and ideas spread out from this location and influenced other early societies. Today its a popular site for new age religious activity.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


A really great swap with a lovely Postcrosser in Texas brings a treat to my collection...this card is from a series that commemorates the US Civil War as experienced in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). During that time many pro-southern mixed blood tribal people who owned black slaves supported and fought for the Confederacy, but other native peoples joined the Union. Battles and militia action disrupted life in Oklahoma, causing many to flee to Texas and Kansas. I am not sure how the war impacted tribes such as the Osage so this will require additional study.
This card features men in bear claw necklaces, a symbol of strength & bravery, while their clothing is decorated with both ribbonwork and prairie style floral beadwork

The great card took a slight beating from the Post Office, but proudly shows its travel scars!

Kwagiulth canoe

a wonderful surprise card was send by a kind Postcrosser who I trade with occasionally...she visited the Royal BC Museum while on vacation to Vancouver Island and really enjoyed an exhibit of native languages. She sent this card to share her appears to be a still from the Curtis film "In the Land of the Headhunters" (later renamed "In the Land of the War Canoes").

the card text: This 60 foot ceremonial Kwagiulth canoe carries the groom and his family towards the beach to meet his bride and her family. Kolus is at the head of the canoe, the groom at the rear. The character carved on the side of the canoe is Nax wax daxw also known as the sea eagle. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis in 1914.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shaman's mask

A wonderful Postcrosser in Russia sent a museum card featuring a Tlingit shaman's mask. This community resides in SE Alaska, part of the larger Northwest Coast cultural tradition who fished and obtained forest resources, including wood for carving. Its a nice card and I enjoy seeing items in museum collections all around the world; hopefully some of them can be returned to Native communities for use in continuing cultural traditions!!

Text states" This mask shows the image of a supernatural being, possessing both huan and animal features. It was a shamana's attribute, imitating one of his spirit assistants. Though the curved beak reaching her lips is the main feature of a hawk, the mask probably represents the Master if Salmon."

Native Elements

A fun swap with Katie in Canada included 2 cards called Native Elements offered by Native Northwest, a Vancouver distributor with an awesome catalog of Native made products. From Katie's offerings I selected

Sixapo or Black Plume. Card text "Sixapo is dressed in a ceremonial jacket and has only one side of his hair braided. Sixapo holds a warrior club and probably belonged to one of the many warrior socieities of the Blood Nations of Southwestern Alberta.." Photo was taken in 1895 and is in the Saskatchawan Archives.
But if you look closely his hair is braided on both sides, with one contained inside of a weasel skin. Lots of great elements in this card and a super nice addition to my First Nations Plains peoples.

Katie Blue Thunder, Lakota, holds a doll and stands on a lovely beaded horse blanket. Her dress, leggings and doll are all superbly crafted by older female relations. I love to make Plains dolls and so this card appealed to me immediately.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wampanoag at Plimoth Plantation

This series of cards depicting Wampanoag native life along the Massachusetts coast, an area occupied by English settlers beginning in the early 1600s. Native activities included hunting, gardening, collecting sea foods and making the tools needed for survival. Sadly contact led to epidemics and conflict over land and natural resources. Despite welcoming the British and engaging in trade, the tribe was defeated in King Philip's war; many of the tribe's survivors were enslaved and sent to the Caribbean. Fortunately some survived and today 2000 tribal members live on a small reservation near Martha's Vineyard.
The Plimoth Plantation offers visitors an opportunity to see life as it existed in the early colonial period. The site includes an outdoor living historical Wampanoag village with reed mat and bark covered homes, where native staff demonstrate crafts and answer questions. For more information see
These great cards were sent by a Postcrosser who lives in Boston, MA

Sarcee family

The Tsuu T'iana (formerly called Sarcee or Sarsi) are a Canadian First Nations group, They are an Athabascan tribe who lived on Canada's southern plains in the 1700s and are linguistically related to the Naisha (Plains Apache) who lived on the Northern Plains of Montana at the same time. The Sarcee may have been culturally influenced by their friendly associations with the Blackfeet, who hunted bison and lived in hide tipis. Approximately 2000 tribal members live on or near a small reserve located near Calgary.
This photo was taken approximately 1890 and mailed from Oklahoma.

Haida Crest Pole

A reproduction corner post made approximately 1980 celebrates a Yaadaas clan house. The images include a Village watchman, Raven and a Bear; these portray the heraldic emblems of the Yaadaas clan from Old Kasaan on Prince of Wales Island, located in southern Alaska. Here the Haida lived until 1893. The post is located in the Sitka National Historic Park, Alaska.
Card was sent by a Postcrosser in trade.

Alaska Inupiat

                                                                 Children in winter furs, Point Barrow Alaska (1994)

Inupiat (or Eskimo) have occupied the northern most point of Alaska for approximately 1500 years, hunting on the ice. European explorers were encountered in the mid 1800s and today the region is 50% native. Clothing made from caribou offers protection against the temperatures which can drop to -18C.
This card is part of a booklet exploring polar life and was sent by a Postcrosser in Texas.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Okie Postcrosser!

I noticed a new member of Postcrossing from Oklahoma so I sent a welcome message...Gary lives in Eastern Oklahoma and is of Muscogee (Creek) heritage. We exchange emails and postcards, including this reproduction of a wonderful old photo. It features 2 Cheyenne-Arapaho families and a hide tipi, with a willow windbreak generally used during winter months.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

US $.05

Several of our coins celebrate Native Americans; the most famous is the nickle with a Native man on the front and a buffalo on the back, minted 1913-1938. These cards celebrate that coin and were a very nice trade, thanks Kristy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Postcrossing Lottery

I have so many Native American and Canadian First Nations cards on hand that I decided to start an indigenous card lottery via Postcrossing. I had 6 entries last month and decided to send a card to everyone! This month I will have 2 winners...just in time, as I bought more Native postcards including ones in an interesting book of postcardcards from a local museum

Postcrossing Official

I joined the global postcard exchange group Postcrossing many years ago but stopped participating in the random exchange of "official" cards 3 years ago. Recently I decided to reactivate my name was drawn by a Canadian member who sent this nice card. Thanks!!


One of my students traveled to Venezuela and brought back a card of a Pemon women. This tribes lives in parts of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. The remote Canaima National Park was established in 1962, providing the people with a safe territory. It is protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. The people farm and collect wild foods; most are now Christians. Tourism and resource production are becoming a concern for this South American tribe.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cree beadwork

This Cree beaded vest is held in the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian or NMAI, located in Washington DC. The Cree are a Canadian First Nation who inhabited the woods and plains of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. As with many native peoples of the Americas, trade with Europeans introduced new ideas and materials including small glass beads and embroidery. Beading styles can be the typical Plains geometric or the woodlands floral, both celebrated nature and the relationships of humans to the cosmos.
Clothing styles also changed with contact; by the mid 1800s many native people were wearing vests that became popular with Wild West Shows and other forms of the tourist encounter. Many examples of beaded vests appear in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with lovely examples still made today.


The ancestors of today's Puebloan people moved into defensible rock shelters during the 1100s and 1200s AD, perhaps in response to drought, conflicts over natural resources and the arrival of Apachean peoples into the southwest. They build small towns using rock and clay mud and farmed on the valley floors & mesas. Later they moved out of these protected areas and established the various towns.

Keet Seel or Kawestima, dates 1250-1300AD and was home to perhaps 150 people. This cliff is located within the boundary of the Navajo Reservation and is now a National monument managed by the Park Service. This card was sent by a Postcrosser who recently went to the southwest on vacation and very kindly shared this card with me!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Canada's First Nations' films

Our local PBS station has recently added an all Native/indigenous station with programing on Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and many shows about Canada's First Nations. Like all PBS stations the programs range from kids' shows to cooking, crafts, gardening and documentaries about history & culture, but all focusing on indigenous peoples.
Native Americans are increasingly becoming involved in the film world as writers, directors and perhaps even producers. Tribes themselves are funding these new forms of expression and occasionally there is government support as well. This card advertises the National Film Board of Canada, producers and distributors of films. To see more about this office, visit their webpage:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mistipe, Creek

A swap from North Carolina brings me a nice addition to my collection. This card features Mistipe, a young Muscogee (Creek) boy, son of a local headman or Mico. He wears the usual cloth shirt, finger woven sash, and has a nice bandolier bag; for more on these, see the work of contemporary Cherokee artist Martha Berry at her website:
This painting was made by Charles Bird King in 1825 and later lithographed by McKinny & Hall
I have relatively few postcards of Southeastern Native people so this is a nice card to add to my binder, despite the USPS postmark ink smudge!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Portable buffalo hide tents, known as tipi in the Sioux language, were an important adaptation to a highly mobile prairie lifestyle made possible by horses and free roaming buffalo. After the buffalo were nearly driven to extinction, native people used cow hide or canvas to create their homes. Government policies designed to keep native people rooted in place on the reservation soon made tipis unnecessary for residence, but they continue to be used for Native American Church ceremonies as well as traveling to pow wows. This great card comes from Canada and features First Nation tipis located near Calgary, Alberta.

Black Hills Lakota

Did a fun swap with a Postcrosser in Texas who sent 2 cards showing Lakota Sioux and the Black Hills of South Dakota. This card features Ben Black Elk, son of the well known Lakota Holy Man, Black Elk. Ben worked from many years as a part of the tourism business at Mount Rushmore, a known landmark carved into a mountain on land that is still claimed by the Sioux. The US Govt admitted to taking it illegally and has offered payment, which has been steadfastly refused.

Another Lakota card features a US Postal Service stamp honoring the Lakota war leader Crazy Horse and the controversial Crazy Horse monument being carved by the son of the Mt Rushmore artist. Crazy Horse was killed by soldiers after surrendering to authorities; his body was buried in an undisclosed location by his family.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First Nations of Canada!

2 trades with a wonderful woman in Canada have been super great...she sent so many terrific First Nations cards and here is just a small sample:

An advertising card with a request on the back for photo submissions of favorite Aboriginal destinations. Ad cards are less available than commercial ones so I really appreciate receiving this one!

The Royal British Columbia Museum, located in Victoria BC has a Cultural Precinct with a park, carved poles, and a nice virtual tour on their website. This image includes a Mungo Martin painted house (Martin was an important First Nations artist and the step-son of another, Charlie James who created art in the transition period of late 1800s/early 1900s). Martin became the head of pole restoration & carver training at the Museum in the 1950s.

This fantastic card shows a pole and band house in Comox on Vancouver Island. Salish speaking peoples fished the regional waters for 4000 years; non-Natives settled the area in the 1850s and the native people were impacted by smallpox in the 1860s. By 1940 only one indigenous family remained on tribal held land.

The Nimpkish Memorial burial ground at Alert Bay is featured on this card. Here Kwakiutl poles mark the graves of members of the Nimpkish band.The burial ground is not open to the public but the poles are visible in their original locations.

Maya, Yucatan Mexico

One of my students traveled with her family to Mexico for Spring Break in mid-March...her parents visited several Mayan sites including Tulum and Chicten Itza and they kindly purchased postcards for me! These are such nice cards but I think next time I will ask students to mail them to me so I can enjoy the stamps as well.

Tulum was a port location for the Kingdom city of Coba. It was a later construction and lasted into the historic Spanish period. This structure was a small temple dedicated to the God of Wind.

Chichen Itza is perhaps the most well known Mayan site for tourism, easily accessible and nicely restored. It was a late era site, blending Mayan and Toltec cultural influences. This Temple of the Warriors is one of my favorite structures at Chichen...the stone columns would have supported a roof, almost like an Egyptian hypo-style hall.

Moche cat

am so behind in uploading cards I have March I exchanged for this wonderful pre-Columbian feline bottle produced by the Moche culture in Peru, 200BC-200AD. The card comes from a postcard book of Animals in Ancient America. The sender found the book in a used shop for a bargain price and I'm the lucky recipient of this one!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Aboriginal Canada

I received this nice card via a Postcrossing celebrates National Aboriginal Day in Canada on June 21st with a poster competition. It features many symbols of native understandings from the sacred white Buffalo of the prairies, NW Coast killer whale, an arctic shaman's mask and the 4 colors of a medicine wheel. This lovely card was mailed using many great stamps that also recall 1st Nations people!
Celebrating the Corn Beads (1999)
Christine Sioui Wawanoloath

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Miwok, California

Inez, a Postcrosser in California sent this great card of a well known Miwok performer. The Miwok traditionally lived in small hunter/gather groups in Northern California. It is estimated that their population declined from 11,000 to less than 500 as settlers and gold miners flooded into California, leading to violence, disease and land loss.

Chris Brown performed under the name Chief Lemee for tourists at Yosemite for almost 30 years. An interesting explanation of dance regalia can be found here:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Blackfeet on the move

a late 1800s photo showing a well dressed family and horses including a very nicely beaded bag hanging on the woman's saddle. The Blackfeet resided along the US/Canadian border and this card comes from a Postcrosser in Canada

Maya of Belize

its not clear if the woman in this card is Mayan or of mixed heritage, but she wears a nicely embroidered cotton huipil. She may be a market woman, perhaps selling textiles to tourists!