A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V X Y Z
Aniline Dye: Aniline is an oily, colorless liquid produced from benzene (coal tar) that is reduced to produce synthetic dye. Aniline was first isolated from the distillation of the indigo plant (Indigofera suffruiticosa) material in 1826. It did not become a commercial product until 1856.
Atlatl: An ancient throwing device, used for hunting, made of wood or antler. It functions like an extension of the thrower’s arm. The atlatl uses angular motion to propel a flexible shaft (dart) with far greater force, and range than a spear thrown by hand. This tool is the direct predecessor of the bow and arrow. It uses linear motion to propel a flexible shaft (an arrow) for the same purpose. Atlatl is the Aztec word for this device that has been archeologically dated to more than 30,000 years ago and is found all over the world.
Brain Cured (tanned) Leather: Brain curing is the native, hand processing of animal skin to produce useable material (leather) for clothing or other purposes. It involves the stripping of hair and flesh and the soaking of the skin in a solution of the animal’s brains and water. “Tanning” is the process of soaking hides in a bath prepared from tanbark (the bark of oak, hemlock, etc.) or by synthetic (chemical) means; usually commercially, rather than hand processing. With ethnographic collections, there is often a mixture of commercial leather, usually cowhide, and hand processed leather. This reflects contact between two cultures, and the pressure of manufactured goods on traditional production processes.
Buckskin: This is a generic term used to identify soft, pliable cured or tanned leather. Nez Perce and other native people work primarily with deer, elk or mountain sheep skins to produce “brain-cured” hides (leather) for clothing and bags. The process involves the skin being stretched and fluffed by lubrication using brain matter from the animal. Smoking helps preserve and color the leather but is not a requirement by definition.
Bundle Coil: A coil of material is bundled together then coiled upwards, forming a basket or bowl.
Catlinite: Also known as pipestone, this red stone is used by many native peoples to make pipe bowls.
Cinch Strap: A strap attached to both sides of a saddle frame or tree. The strap passes under the horse’s belly to firmly secure the saddle to the horse.
Columbia Plateau: An ethno-geographic term used to describe the cultural area occupied by Indian peoples who lived in the Columbia River region. The area encompasses the drainages of the Columbia and Fraser Rivers which includes central Washington State, western Montana, the Willamette Valley of Oregon and central and eastern British Columbia, Canada.
Cornhusk: The inner layers of the cornhusk are dried and torn into thin strips and used as weaving material for flat bags, pouches and other items.
Crupper: A loop that passes under the horse’s tail and is attached to the rear of the saddle to keep it from slipping forwards. Cruppers are usually made of commercial leather or rawhide. They are commonly decorated with beaded panels or fenders of hide or fabric.
Cryptocrystalline Silica: A rock composed of submicroscopic silica (quartz) crystals. It is referred to by a variety of names including chert, chalcedony, jasper, agate, and common opal.
False Embroidery: The design found on the outside weft of a bag. The design is visible on the exterior but cannot be seen on the interior of a bag.
Fender: A rawhide shield or side guard attached to the frame of a saddle, under the stirrup straps to protect the rider’s legs. Many are painted with natural pigments. Plateau and Plains fender design appears to have evolved from a single piece of rawhide into two pieces designed to look like a single piece.
Foreshaft: A small, separate detachable shaft on which a projectile point is mounted. The foreshaft is inserted into the main shaft of a spear, an atlatl dart, or reed arrow shaft.
German Silver: A silver colored alloy composed primarily of copper, zinc, and nickel. It was introduced into Europe in the early eighteenth century from China in the form of Paktong (Pakfong) ware; metal fittings imitating sterling silver. It was discovered to be an alloy in 1770 and by the early nineteenth century German companies were producing a more refined version of this metal. Known as New Silver, Nickel Silver or Alpacca (a trade name in Germany), this metal became very popular with the introduction of electroplating in 1840 as a base metal for cutlery and dinner ware. It is commonly seen on native artifacts in the form of horse tack fittings, conchos and buckles on belts and a wide range of other metal applications.
Gunwale: The upper edge of a boat’s side.
Hafted: A haft refers to the handle of a tool such as a knife handle, or axe. Hafted means to fit the tool with a handle. This is also used in reference to mounting an arrow or spear point to the end of an arrow shaft or spear.
Imbricated: The word imbrication is derived from the Latin word imbrex or tile because the stitch gives the surface a tile-like appearance.
Jute: Jute is a long, soft, shiny plant fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus family, Malvaceae. Jute fiber is often called hessian; jute fabrics are also called hessian cloth, and jute sacks are also called gunny bags. The fabric made from jute is known as burlap in the US.
Klikitat: Closely related to the Yakama, the Klikitat live in central Washington. Their traditional homeland includes the area around Mt. St. Helens to the Columbia River.
Lane Stitch: One of the earliest beading techniques used by Native beadworkers was the lane or Lazy stitch, it was used by the Great Plains. A stitching method used in beading. Rather than stitching one bead at a time, four or more beads are stitched in at once. This technique is used to create geometric designs.
Lobelled: Decorations baskets that appear as lobes projecting vertically from the rim.
Makah: Closely related to the Nootka people of Vancouver Island, their traditional territory included Cape Flattery and the surrounding area on the northern tip of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.
Melton Wool: A medium thick to thick woven wool, or wool blend, that is tightly woven. It has a heavily brushed nap that hides the warp and weft threads to create a smooth finish. It is most commonly used for coats. The name derives from the Borough of Melton, Leicestershire, England, a center of the shires-based wool trade of the 14th century.
Mortar and Pestle: These two tools are used together to grind and mix substances. The mortar serves as the bowl and the pestle is the stick that grinds and mixes the substance. The Nez Perce used both stone and wood mortars and pestles.
Nez Perce Country: The Nez Perce homeland that includes north central Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and southeastern Washington, an area of approximately seventeen million acres.
Ochre: Natural minerals consisting of silica and clay that can range from yellow to brown. The color is derived from the presence of iron oxide
Overlay Stitch: - A stitching method, also referred to as Applique beadwork, used in beading. The strings of beads are attached to the surface in close rows that follow the design. Unlike lazy stitch, they don't have to be parallel. A second thread fastens the bead string. Overlay stitch is used to create floral and pictorial motifs.
Plaited: A weaving pattern where the warp and weft cross at a ninety degree angle. The weft threads pass over and under the warp threads in an alternating pattern.
Percussion Flaking: A method of flint-knapping using a striking force to create controlled fractures in rock to form stone tools. This method requires the use of a hammer stone or other implement for striking the raw stone or core to detach percussion flakes.
Pony Beads: are round, glass trade beads and are in the large range of bead sizes traded throughout all of North America. The smallest are called “seed beads”. The next size up are called “Crow beads.” Pony beads are usually at least 8-10mm. in diameter. There is a large variety of other shapes, sizes and colors. Certain colors, styles and sizes of beads where introduced into the trade network at different time periods. These beads are useful in dating beaded artifacts.
Pressure Flaking: A method of flint knapping using pressure rather than striking to create a tool. This method involves the use of a finely-tipped tool such as an antler tine or hardened stick to apply a tightly directed pressing force upon the edge of a piece of flake stone. Pressure flaking is commonly used in the final forming phases of a finished stone tool.
Quirt: A leather whip used to control the horse.
Rawhide: Rawhide is animal skin that has been scraped clean of flesh (hair can be left on or removed) and is then dried. Rawhide is not cured or tanned, and is distinguished by its light yellow or white appearance. It is both lightweight and waterproof.
Recurve Bow: A bow that has tips that curve away from the shooter when the bow is in the shooting position.
Saddle Tree: The wooden frame of a saddle.
Seed Beads: “Seed beads” is local term used by native people and non-native bead workers to describe small beads that are 2 mm or less in diameter.
Sinew: Animal tendon used as cord or thread. Among native people, the tendon is usually taken from the back and legs of buffalo, deer, or elk. These areas produce the longest and strongest fibers.
Snake River: The 1040 mile long Snake begins its journey from the slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and end it just south of the Tri Cities in South East Washington State. The Columbia then flows another 785 miles to the Pacific Ocean. This confluence of these two great rivers creates the dominant river system of the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia system drains approximately 259,500 square miles in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Nevada and the Province of British Columbia.
Spalding-Allen Collection: A collection of artifacts acquired by Rev. Henry Spalding at his Lapwai Mission. In 1846 Spalding sent the artifacts back to his friend, Dr. Dudley Allen in Ohio. The items eventually became the property of the Ohio Historical Society. The Nez Perce Tribe raised money and purchased the items from the Historical Society in 1996. These artifacts are some of the oldest and best-documented Plateau artifacts in the US. They are also the products of exceptional craftsmanship.
Smoked Hide: A cured hide that is placed over a wood fire to darken it. Smoking is also thought to produce a preservative effect. Smoked hide gives off a distinctive, pleasant aroma that is easy to identify.
Steatite: A soft stone that falls under the category of soapstone. It consists mostly of talc and has a hardness similar to limestone. It can be easily carved and shaped.
Stirrups: A ring or frame, with a flat edge, made of wood and later metal attached by straps to the bottom of a saddle frame to support the feet of the rider. The wood frames are sometimes covered with leather to add strength. Later commercial or military stirrups replaced wood as they became available.
Twining: A weaving technique in which pairs of fibers twist around each other while enclosing a second set of fibers within each turn or half-turn.
Uni-facial: A technique of flint knapping used to create stone tools. A uni-facially flaked tool is one that bears flake scars on only one surface. Stone tools which have flake scars on both surfaces are referred too as bi-facially worked
Warp and Weft: The parallel fibers that form the foundation onto which the weft fibers are woven. Weft is the set of fibers that are woven over and under the warp fibers
Welt: A tape or covered cord sewn into a seam.