Playing cards were introduced to Native American groups by European settlers and explorers. On the Southern Plains, cards were obtained from the Spanish conquistadores of Mexico. When trade relations became strained, some tribes, most notably the Apache, began to make their own cards. These were cut from rawhide and hand painted, progressing stylistically over time from Spanish motifs to more traditional imagery.
Maurer, Evan. Native American Heritage: A Survey of North American Indian Art. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1977, pg. 240, pl. 352