Nebraska’s Native American tribes have contributed the oldest of our many folklife practices. For hundreds of years, they’ve excelled at traditional singing and dancing, leatherwork, drum making, constructing traditional dwellings such as earth lodges, and much more. Contemporary Native American beadwork, such as that shown in the photo, is a modern adaptation of a clothing decoration tradition that stretches back to prehistoric times. Over the years, the common materials have changed from shells, bone and dyed porcupine quills to beads, but many of the colors, designs, and other aspects of the different tribal, clan, and family styles have continued over centuries. Folk arts are often said to be “new and old at the same time” because of this typical combination of innovation with tradition.