Parfleche made by a Northern Plains artist

Parfleche Inspired Activity

Parfleche made by a Northern Plains artist


Unknown artist from a Northern Plains tribe

Northern Plains, United States

Unknown date

hide, pigment

Artist Melanie Yazzie was inspired by the intricate and unique designs that are significant to the owner as well as the parfleche’s function for holding important items.

Does this object spark a lesson idea for your classroom?

  • How are students inspired to share about themselves with personal designs?
  • How could you prompt students to consider what they would like to put into their parfleche-inspired case?

TIP: Have students decorate mailer envelopes with designs and colors meaningful to them to create their own parfleche-inspired carrier.

Related Creative Activities

Lesson Plan

Identity at Large

Students will examine Jeffrey Gibson’s parfleche (pronounced “par-flesh”)-inspired artwork Freedom, and explore how it might express his identity. Students will learn about the art concepts of geometric shape, color, and scale by creating their own artwork using materials of their choice to express something about their own identity.

Lesson Plan

Human Transformation

When discussing his artwork in the video provided in this lesson, El Anatsui talks about transformation and fluidity, and how they replicate life. Students will examine Rain Has No Father?, paying special attention to the folds and malleability of the artwork. The class will use Anatsui's quote, "Human relations are not fixed…they change from time to time; they are dynamic," to spark discussion and inspire personal writing topics.