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Richard Sanooke

Richard Saunooke

Specialist in historical Native American dress Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)
(828) 497-5532

Richard Saunooke

Richard Saunooke has been creating historically accurate and beautiful Native American dress and crafts for the past twenty years. He does meticulous beadwork, leatherwork, quillwork, and painting to create medicine bags, pipe bags, pouches, shields, knife sheaths, quivers, and drums.

Born and raised in Chicago, Richard Saunooke moved to Cherokee in the mid 1980s to live on land owned by his father, Freeman Saunooke. Richard Saunooke has worked for many years at Cherokee High School. While still living in Chicago, he regularly attended the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon Festival, an eighteenth-century re-enactment in West Lafayette, Indiana, sponsored by the Tippicanoe Historical Society. This event inspired him to create his own accoutrements for the French and Indian War era, which he wears to the festival.

For the past twenty years, Richard Saunooke has continued to research artifacts from that era and has perfected the techniques necessary to create them. He uses glass beads, feathers, fur, porcupine quills, hides and bone, collecting some of these from the wild and bartering for others. He begins each piece by studying and collecting historical information, using museum publications to obtain accurate detailed knowledge. He uses antique materials and airbrushes feathers to get the exact look he wants.

Richard Saunooke has demonstrated his craft at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, where his work is on exhibit and for sale. He also makes and sells work to private collectors.


He is available for demonstrations, but must coordinate engagements with his work schedule. The amount of his fee is negotiable and must cover any travel expenses.

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