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It is difficult for men to appreciate the culture and art of a bitter enemy, and for most of the history of North America the settler was in a state of perpetual warfare against the Indian, until the latter was almost destroyed both physically and culturally.The settlement of North America is perhaps the most complete in history, and the crafts of the native Indian inhabitants have only really become appreciated as the culture that produced them is dying.

They include animal carvings, face masks, tablets, plaques and human effigies from the unique Key Marco Hoard, uncovered by archeologists in 1896, which included some of the finest Neolithic Native American Indian art ever found in the United States.For too many 19th century Americans living in the large cities and towns of the east coast, the nearest they got to native American art was the pictures of Frederic Remington (1861-1909) - the famous portrayer of the Cowboy West - and the frontier landscapes of Thomas Cole (1801-48), George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), and Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902).To appreciate the nature of the tribal art of the Indian peoples of North America, one has to visualise cultures in which daily life, religious belief and artistic expression are not seen as separate activities but as communal rituals, celebrating either the power of nature and supernatural forces or some essential human activity such as hunting.Tribes have inhabited the Great Plains for millennia.It was here, in Oklahoma, that a unique piece of prehistoric art - the Cooper Bison Skull, the oldest painted object in the history of Native American Indian art - was discovered, dating to the Paleolithic culture of 10,900-10,200 BCE.A settled culture, based on maize agriculture, its people built a more complex form of platform mound and evolved more advanced pottery techniques.

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