When we think about the clothing of Native Americans, the most iconic item would probably be the headdress. The visually striking feathered war bonnets are symbolic and worn by high ranking Native Americans from the Great Plains region of America.
The war bonnet is constructed from the tail feathers of the golden eagle, which is considered by Plains tribes to be the greatest, most powerful and spiritual of all birds. Each feather on the war bonnet is earned by the wearer by accomplishing good deeds and acts of bravery. The headdress is worn in high honor; the feathers of the golden eagle are said to hold important spiritual and magical properties during battles and ceremonial occasions.
But did you know...
Other Native American clothing was made from natural resources and materials and was dependent of the resources available in the region. Buffalo, bear, deer, elk, moose, wildcats, otters, rabbits, beavers, weasels, bird-feathers, fish-skin and snake-skin were commonly used.
Native American Tribes were highly respectful of nature and no part of any animal was wasted or not put to good use. Leather, fur, feathers, skins, teeth, bone and claws were all used in the manufacture of costumes, clothing, accessories and ornaments
Plants also were sometimes used to make items of clothing and accessories. They would weave the natural resource into colored textured items or use narrow strips of strong grass as thread or bindings.
This month in Prescholar Enrichment, a series of supplemental classes offered at the Academy, is dedicated to Native Americans, the first settlers, and the first Thanksgiving. Our classes enjoyed making traditional Native American headdresses today!