After beads were first introduced to the Native Americans by the Europeans in the 16th century, they became a staple of Native American art. Since there was no currency exchange at the time, Europeans traded beaded necklaces and other goods to people of various tribes for animal skins, furs and meat.
Artist Les Berryhill tells the story of how the people of Native American tribes used these small glass beads to create beautiful, elaborate designs. The Native American beadworkers exerted patience and precision to decorate clothing like moccasins, dresses, and gloves with vibrant colors.
For more information on Native American beadwork, visit the Native American Gallery