Shawnee Trails celebrated its grand opening in October of 2006. Shawnee Trails will feature the fine art originals and prints of Shawnee-Delaware artist Ruthe Blalock Jones, Eastern Shawnee artist Cliff Carpenter, Cherokee artist Ralph Feather, and Yankton Sioux artist Joseph Chamberlain.
Shawnee Trails features American Indian art and craftwork and offers an outlet for the numerous artisans who call this part of the country home. As Miami, Oklahoma, is the Gateway to Indian Territory, Shawnee Trails also plays an important role in providing visitors with accurate information about American Indian tribes and introducing them to a wide variety of Indian material culture.
The Shawnee Trails Gift Shop and Gallery inventory is ever-changing – especially as so many of its wares are unique, hand-made, and one-of-a-kind – but shoppers can always expect to find certain kinds of merchandise. From jewelry, to dance regalia, to practical items such as key chains and letter openers, colorful, intricate beadwork items are popular gifts. Contemporary American Indian beadwork, made with tiny Czheckeslovakian or Japanese seed beads, rests on an ancient tradition of decorating items with stone, bone, or shell beads. As early as the 1500s, imported glass beads became important as a trade currency in dealings with Europeans. Many of today's beadwork designs can be traced back hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Used as simple containers for millennia, American Indian baskets are also things of great beauty and fine craftsmanship. Today's artisans carry on traditional shapes, patterns, and materials first used long ago. Baskets, both small and large, are equally suited to serving a practical or decorative purpose and make excellent souvenirs from a trip through Indian Territory. Shawnee Trails also carries custom-made shawls and ribbon shirts in a variety of colors, fabrics, and sizes. Popular since the 1800s, ladies' fringed shawls and men's ribbon shirts are typically worn by those participating in both traditional activities and in events such as pow-wows.
A variety of specialty items can always be found at Shawnee Trails. Specialty items presently include a line of natural bath salts, body butters, and other health and beauty products made by local Indian artisans. In addition, Shawnee Trails is pleased to offer children's books and play sets that accurately depict traditional Indian cultures and histories. Other items include beads, wooden flutes, dolls, moccasins, drum sticks, leather pouches, rattles, ball caps, fossils, pill boxes, and carved antler business card holders.
Shawnee Trails regularly showcases a wide variety of silver jewelry made not only by Navajo and Pueblo artisans, but also by local Shawnee, Seneca, and Comanche jewelry artists. Silver was used to make jewelry by Indian artisans hundreds of years before Europeans arrived in the Americas. Shawnee Trails carries classic sterling silver and semi-precious stone necklaces, bracelets, watches, rings, broaches, and earrings, as well as hair ornaments and book marks. Shawnee Trails also maintains a large selection of Pendleton blankets, handbags, desk accessories, and home decorator items. Pendleton Mills items have long represented a hallmark of fine gift giving. In 1909, the Bishop family began producing vividly-colored wool blankets for several western and southwestern Indian tribes in a Pendleton, Oregon, mill. Just as earlier styles of blankets had been, the Pendleton Mills blankets were used as bedding, apparel, and a standard of value for trade and credit. Pendleton blankets soon came to be viewed by Indians in the West and on the Plains as the preferred blanket for gift-giving, particularly when the gift was a sign of honor and respect for the recipient.