Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cross Earrings by Kateri Daman

These earrings are based on originals excavated on Round Island, MI. near Mackinaw Island. The crosses represent the 4 thunderbirds pattern in Native American Religion.

Photo supplied by Kris Daman.


  1. They may represent thunderbirds but they also represent something else very nefarious that some of us are not very fond of. I question their appropriateness for this board.

  2. Would the person who posted the above comment please explain to us what they are talking about.

  3. I too would like to know how these shapes are offensive. They are as old as humanity itself. And since they really are not "wholey Indian" designs, I would like to know who one can be certain what they meant to the ancient ones practicing the "Native American Religion"
    Scott Sibley

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    My wife, Kateri, the artisan of these earrings, and myself, live near Mackinac Island.

    We interpret and recreate local, historical Native American artwork.

    When I wear these earrings and give a presentation about Great Lakes Native artwork, at least one person brings up Nazi Germany and their use of this symbol.

    My first response is to tell the person that we have no association with those inhumane people of
    WW II.

    Then I explain where this piece came from, and how it was used.

    To support our non-association statement I site the fact that 5 of my great uncles served in the many theaters of WW II. One was 16 and fighting the Nazis in Germany, he was a tanker in Patton's battalion. 2 others were Colonels, and I was raised militarily.

    I consider these pieces lucky, because they were the first pieces I had commissioned a beautiful lady to make, whom I married 3 short months later.

    Kris Edward Daman

  5. the cross pattee - as this design is known does have a recent history as a symbol of the Third Reich. BUT it is also a fur trade symbol, a crusaders symbol and in simple terms...a cross. I do not believe any offense was intended.

  6. Mike (from Germany)May 23, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    ...and the "Iron Cross" used by the Nazis as an honor-medal (1st + 2nd class) has indeed the same shape, but looks complety different!

  7. Mike (from Germany)May 23, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    I like them - I would even wear them in Germany!

  8. Mike in Germany,

    Thank you for the nice compliments.

    My mother is half German, which I am very proud of, her family emigrated from Bremen in 1830, and my father lived in Kempton, during the late 1980s.

    The period artisans in Germany are incredible.

    Kris Edward Daman


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