Clothing and Feathers!

Just like we learned yesterday that not all Native Americans had the same houses, not all Native Americans dressed the same either! The clothing that they wore was made from what they had available to work with, it was designed to be durable and suited to the climate, and the accessories were often symbolically important to the Native culture. In many tribes where deer were available, Native Americans would wear clothes made from the hide of deer, called buckskin. Often, both women and men wore buckskin leggings, and the women would wear a skirt and shirt over it or a buckskin dress. They also wore shoes made of soft leather called moccasins. Do you think that you can dress the little boy and girl paper dolls in their buckskin outfits? You can download and print the dolls and their outfits here.

Native Americans would often customize their clothing with either bead-work or paint! They would create beautiful patterns out of glass beads, or they would paint something on their clothes, although painting on clothing was most typical of the Plains Indians (which we learned yesterday lived in tepees!). What would you put on your clothing to personalize it? What is important enough to you that you would put on what you wear everyday? Well, if you watch this video, you can learn how to make your own Native American inspired vest! Be sure to include lots of colors and leave a picture in the comments below!

The accessories that a Native American wore with their clothing was almost as important as the clothing itself! One such important piece was called a headdress. The headdress is believed to have first been worn by the Sioux Indian tribe in the Great Plains. The headdress often signified someone’s importance, commonly being worn by the tribe’s chief, especially during times of war or strife. Traditionally, each feather on the headdress represented a time when the chief, or leader of a tribe, had been very brave. This meant that the people who wore headdresses were very important, and they were very respected and wise. If you think about all that you have done in your life, have you been very brave and loyal? If you were a chief, how many feathers would you have on your headdress? You can add as many feathers as you can think of brave things that you have done for the right reasons. Below, you can print out your own headdress to color, or you can click here to learn how to make a more in depth headdress.

Now that you know why a chief got feathers on his headdress, can you color the picture and figure out how many brave deeds this chief did for his people? Be sure to follow the color guide, and let me know what answer you got in the comments section!

A lot of Native Americans from all different tribes also wore jewelry! The jewelry was often beautiful, colorful, and it utilized beads and feathers a lot! But why were beads and feathers so important? Beads were often used as a trading token. You could trade colorful beads for things that you needed or wanted, and they made some of the most beautiful jewelry, like you see below! But feathers were used symbolically. Feathers symbolized a time when the person had done or accomplished something important. Gaining a feather was an incredibly significant life event. Can you think of something that you have done in your life that you are proud of ? Do you think you would have earned a feather necklace? Well, why don’t you try to make one! Detailed instructions for bead necklaces are available thanks to Art Bar, and you can add your own feathers with some glue on the back!

Now that you know why these types of clothing were important, lets have a headdress inspired meal! Grab mom or dad and check out this idea for One Little Indian Breakfast! Now that you know the importance of feathers and paint, be sure to come back tomorrow for our last lesson on Native Americans, “Feathers, Frames, and Fun: Native American Art.”

One Comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *