College Gallery

Indigenous Arts

This page contains descriptions and examples of traditional Indigenous arts, including beadwork, fish scale, quill and hair tufting art, mukluk/moccasin making, and tipi construction.

Types of Indigenous Art



Beadwork on a Cradle Board

Beadwork entails stringing beads together, weaving them into patterns, and sewing them onto fabrics.

Royal Alberta Museum Indigenous Artistry – Beading   

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Fish Scale Art


Fish scale art is unique to the northern Alberta region and has been developed to create art suitable for framing and jewelry. The intricate arranging of these natural elements creates various artistic designs on any surface.

Royal Alberta Museum Indigenous Artistry – Fishscales   

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Fish Scale and Quill Material Preparation


Raw materials, such as fish scales, fish bones, and porcupine quills, must be prepared before they can be used in art forms, taking them from their raw state to beautifully prepared and dyed materials.

Mukluk/Moccasin Making

Photos of Mukluks and Moccasins

Made from traditional tanned leather, design choices include both the historical pointed or modern gathered toe style and either the wrap around or mukluk style legging.

Quill Work Art


Porcupine Quill Work

Before the advent of beading in North America, Indigenous people used quills to decorate their clothing and valuables.

Royal Alberta Museum Indigenous Artistry – Quillwork 

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Tipi Creation


Tipi construction involves drafting, cutting, and sewing a canvas, which differs by tribal style and involves protocols and set up and take down procedures.

Traditional or Contemporary Indigenous Clothing


Examples of traditional and contemporary Indigenous clothing include the jingle dress, hide jacket, ribbon dress or shirt, capote coat, etc.

Tufting and Sculpting


Tufting and sculpting uses three traditional techniques with moose, horse, and caribou hair. Tufting requires stem work, which is an intricate process that strengthens the value of the finished product. Sculpting is a three dimensional art form working in a traditional medium.

Royal Alberta Museum Indigenous Artistry – Tufting   

               WATCH VIDEO »


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