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Cigar Store Indians

A carving of a wooden Indian, a red, white, and blue striped pole, three golden balls suspended from a curved bar, and the mortar and pestle―symbols used by early store keepers to advertise and inform a predominately illiterate populace of their respective trades and services. And with only 12% of the people in the world able to read and write in 1820, the use of such symbols wasn’t really an option for business owners, it was a must. This is the story of Cigar Store Indians.

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Wooden Duck Decoys

Some have argued that art imitates life, while others say that life imitates art. Native Americans would have agreed with both positions. When the colonists first came ashore in North America, they observed Native Americans using mud, cattails, and other organic materials to craft imitations of ducks and other fowl. These decoys would attract live water fowl, which hunters would then capture or kill.

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