Ojibwe Finger Weaving

Lesson submitted by Lowanna Greensky for a CBAI teacher training.

Fingerweaving is an ancient tradition for the Ojibwe peoples, which like the language, is disappearing from today's traditions and arts. This activity can be used to demonstrate the changing culture and the impact of one culture on another as students learn of the melding of traditional weaving techniques and patterning with contemporary ones. Unlike the Southwest loom weaving, all you need to fingerweave is fingers and/or 2 sticks and yarn. Children enjoy making friendship bracelets, which is a simple form of fingerweaving.

Materials Needed


Art Materials


Activity Process


Bring examples of Ojibwe finger weaving - wear fingerwoven bracelets to show the class.


Show pictures of Dennis White's work online.


  1. Use an even number of strands (6-50), depending on the material used and the desired belt width. Cut strands to equal lengths. Allow for contraction in loose spun yarn when it is tightly woven using this formula: 2 TIMES (WAIST + FRINGE + KNOT) = STRAND LENGTH.
  2. Make clove hitch knot 6-12" from the end of each strand with the simple diagonal weave (in the center of each strand to make opposing arrows with the chevron weave).
  3. Loop the clove hitch knot in each strand over a small stick. Push the strands tightly together.
  4. Pull the short ends up, so that the long ends hang suspended from the stick, and tie the short ends together temporarily in an overhand knot (or wrap the ends with masking tape).
  5. Secure the knotted end of the strands above the stick to a post or chair, or tape the weaving to a table surface.
  6. Twine a short string horizontally around the hanging strands (just below the stick) to keep the weaving from unraveling when the stick is removed.
  7. Finish the belt with a row of twining like that at the start.
  8. Braid equal numbers of the loose strands into fringe (or twist the strands into a 2-ply fringe).


Have students talk about their choice of color, patterns and showcase their work for others.


Students are able to indentify patterns of color and design in their work that tie into traditional motifs.

Vocabulary Words


Image of Dennis White weaving, courtesy of Wisconsin's publication: "The Daily Yonder".

Grade Levels

Primary Content Areas

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards