I was told this was a NA medicine bag

I have had this for a couple of years. The seller (garage sale) said it was given to her by a NA
friend. She had lived in many states over the years and is not NA herself… It appears vintage.
The stitching needs to be redone on bottom, the inside shows wear. I’m thinking tourist trade at best.
Any ideas anyone.? I added 2 more pictures. The size, not including fringe is 5inches by 5 inches


Medicine bags c1910 from the Legends of America site. I think yours is definitely tourist trade. Nice though.

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Thanks foe photos. I believed her when I bought it. This site has really opened my eyes to the imitations out there.

or…just plain old handmade,cuz they liked the style & wanted one

doesn’t need a medicine bag lable-there’re strike-a-lights,possibles,tobaccos, etc.

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Yes, that’s true. Crafts involved everyone in the whole country it seems back in the 70s & 80s. There was a real trend for home made. The difference here is the seller represented it as NA made. Ske may have believed that herself.

It’s possible it was native made specifically for the tourist trade.

When I was a kid we used to stop at a number of touristy type shops in the Mackinaw City, MI area and there were numerous tourist items made by natives.

I think the bead work is colorful, and well done, no loose beads or broken strings.

Agreed it’s most likely Native made for the tourist trade.
I would guess from the Plateau or Northern Plains areas, possibly Cree or Chippewa ?
When I see faceted beads and linen thread I think mid-20th century. The hide seems Native tanned and fairly thick, generally a good sign. I’m wondering if it’s Elk hide ?
“Medicine Bag” is a general term and used broadly. Many NA bags types and forms were used for ceremonial purposes- to hold corn, fetishes, paint, tobacco, items associated with ritual etc., etc., etc.
A pouch like this most likely was sold to hang of a belt for simple storage purposes.
Nice, regardless of any narrative in my opinion.

Take a look at this bag for similar…


You had so much knowledge to share! Thank you. And to everyone else who shared their knowledge, thank you as well. The forum is a great collaborative way of sharing. I loved the bead work on it and am using it to store a piece of jewelry and display the bag as well. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

August, I just took a look at the link to “invaluable”. The beadwork is beautiful on these items. Thanks so much for sharing.

@hisweetpotato Condition wise, obviously it’s missing a hunk of the black beadwork on the right-hand blue oak leaf (from the viewing perspective shown here).

Yes and it looks like a few blue beads in the same area. Neither the beads, or I am, are as young as we used to be.


To me, the design says eastern woodland tribe design.