Sioux parfleche trunk. Ex. Calgary museum. The term parfleche was first coined by the French fur traders and derived from the French word “parer” meaning defend and “fleche” meaning arrows, as the hide was tough enough to be used as a shield and deflect an arrow. The original containers had graphics that were maps, geographical depictions such as rivers and mountains, or symbols that told the family’s stories. Once the parfleche left the family, the story was lost and the parfleche became Native American art rather than a meaningful storyteller.
PERIOD: Circa 1900
ORIGIN: Sioux, Plains