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Parfleche is a type of container made from buffalo rawhide that Plains women traditionally fashion into containers decorated with brightly colored geometrical designs.

A parfleche is a Native American rawhide container. Enveloped-shaped perfleches have historically been used to contain items such as dried meats and pemmican.

The word was originally used by French fur traders, and derives from the French language parer meaning "to parry" or "to defend", and flèche meaning "arrow", so called because the hide was tough enough to be used as a shield.[citation needed]

Traditionally women are the main creators of parfleches, first painting stretched out raw hides, then shaping them into their final form. In contemporary culture, both women and men make them.

The bags are traditionally decorated with a distinctive style of graphic artwork, usually depicting landscape features such as rivers and mountains, and even serving as maps.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goes In Center, Jhon (Oglala Lakota), "Native American and First Nations' GIS" for Native Geography 2000

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