Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Make Your Own Native American Indian Medicine Bag

I recently became a Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor for the Indian Lore Merit Badge. I love Native American history and culture and I am 50% Native American, so this should be a lot of fun. My first battle is figuring out what projects we are going to make to satisfy the requirements. One of the projects I am going to make with boys is a Medicine Bag. This is a simple version that does not require sewing and should be easily accomplished by all of the boys. Below, I listed  the materials I used for the bag pictured, I also listed what I plan on using with the boys to keep the cost down and use up some supplies that I already have on hand.
Native American Indians used medicine bags as a holder or container for various items that they found special or that they thought possessed supernatural powers. Anyone could have one, but usually the medicine man of a tribe that would carry one. They carried items such as special stones, animal furs, teeth, and anything else that meant something to the owner. The contents of the bag were very special and secretive, only the owner of the bag was allowed to look in it. When the owner died, their bag was buried with them.


To make this medicine bag you will need:

  • a good sized piece of leather, vinyl or other material, I used a piece of leather that I had for my bag, but the boys will be using a "fake" leather vinyl to make theirs.
  • circular template, I used a small paper plate
  • some kids of cord, I used leather cord that I had left over from another project, but the boys will be using para-cord; you could use a thin ribbon or an entire strand of embroidery floss as well
  • Pony Beads, if desired
  • scissors
  • leather punch, hole punch, or something sharp to poke holes in the leather or material
  • pencil or marker, I used a silver Sharpie since I used black leather


Use the template or plate to trace a circle on the backside of the leather or material and cut it out.
Measure out holes evenly around the circle, about an inch apart. **You must have an even number of holes for the medicine bag to cinch closed properly. 

Lace the cord through the holes so that both ends of the cord end on the same side. Add some pony beads to both ends of the cord, you can use the pony beads to push and hold the bag closed. Knot the ends of the cord together and you have yourself a medicine bag!

What will you store in yours?

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