A parfleche is a Plains Indian rawhide bag, "typically used for holding dried meats and pemmican" (Wikipedia).
The word originated with French fur traders and derives from the French "parer" meaning "parry" or "defend", and "flèche" meaning "arrow". (First known use of the word, 1827). The hide was tough enough to be used as a shield, thus the term.
Again, according to Wikipedia, "the original bags had graphics that were actually maps, general geographical depictions of the surrounding land." The artist told me that the paint designs of this bag are influenced by historic Crow Indian work.