Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Lecture Series and Tinkling Cones

Hi everyone,

Join us tonight at 7:30 in the community room of the Niles District Library for a lecture by Dr. Dean Anderson, the Michigan State Archaeologist. His talk is titled "Trade Between Cultures: The French Period in the Western Great Lakes Region," and will focus on the relationship between Native Americans and  the French in the Great Lakes region. This connection between cultures was based on trade that went beyond monetary exchange by playing a part in politics and alliance. Dr. Anderson will focus on the Native American side of the trade relationship.

Support the Fort members will again be providing snacks. Hope to see you there!

Another shot of the tinkling cone from Fort St. Joseph.
Photo credit Cathrine Davis
In a continuation of yesterday's post I wanted to elaborate on tinkling cones for our readers that may be less familiar with the term. Trade with the French increased Native American access to sheets of metal who, prior to the French arrival, were skilled in working copper. By the 17th century Native peoples were taking tiny scraps of metal, such as brass and copper, and cutting them into trapezoid shapes. These were then rolled to create a small metal cone. These could then be affixed to clothing, moccasins, bags, and other items. Some were incorporated into more elaborate designs using quillwork, etching, and animal fur. The name comes from the sound the cones make when they hit one another.

Example of a jingle dress.
Image courtesy of
The use of tinkling cones was widespread, and several examples have been found at Fort St. Joseph. These cones are still made and used today, often for jingle dresses for Powwow events.

See you tonight!


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