Native Americans or American Indians? What is the proper term for labeling our original inhabitants of America?
The U.S. Postal Service has used both names over the years on various stamps honoring and displaying colorful and beautiful examples of native art. The latest set consisting of a pane of 10 jumbo size stamps was issued in 2004 with a heading on the top of the pane reading "Art of the American Indian."
The Postal Service said that selecting the images for these stamps required more than eye for aesthetics. The pane had to include a variety of art forms and time periods and represent all major U.S. geographic regions. The subjects dated from around the 11th century to circa 1969.
The individual stamps featured examples of tribal art: Mimbres bowl, Seminole doll, Kutenai parflech, Tlingit sculptures, Ho-Chunk bag, Mississippi effigy, Acoma pot, Navajo weaving, Seneca carving and Luiseno basket.
Previous U.S. stamps also celebrated a variety of Indian Arts and Rituals. A 6-cent stamp issued in 1970 in a block of four, marking the 100th anniversary of the American Museum of Natural History, shows a Tlingit chief in a ceremonial canoe.
Four sets of stamps in the American Folk Art series featuring Indian art forms were issued in 1977. Four stamps released in 1980 showed Pacific Northwest Indian masks. Four stamps in 1986 had the theme of Navajo weaving. Headdresses of Plains Indian tribes were pictured on five stamps in 1990.
One of the 20 stamps in the "Legends of the West" pane of 1994 commemorated Native American culture and showed a Minnetaree warrior performing the "Dog Dance." In 1996, the Postal Service issued five additional stamps displaying a number of American Indian dances. In the same year, the USPS issued a 2-cent definitive in the American Design series picturing a Navajo necklace.
First day ceremonies for the 2004 "Art of the American Indian" pane of 10 was held at the Santa Fe, N.M., Indian Market, which is an annual arts festival open to the public.
Stamps mentioned above may be available at your local stamp dealer or you may call the Stamp Fulfillment Services, toll free, at 1-800-STAMP-24.