Braided Hairstyles

Braiding is a method of weaving hair by interlacing three or more sections of hair over one another.

Historically hairstyles varied to some degree from tribe to tribe. Even within tribes, hairstyles varied from person to person. There is not really a signature hairstyle that was universally worn by all members of a tribe, but there are some hairstyles that are unique to a tribe, such as the wooden rolled squash blossom whorls worn by the Hopi women.

Native American Hairstyles - A historic overview including photographs of a variety of traditional Native American hairstyles.

Native Tech: Site features links to tribes by region showing traditional customary dress including hairstyles.

National Museum of the American Indian: National museum website devoted to the Native American culture featuring hundreds of thousands of photos, art and artifacts.

Hair Braiding Basics: 4 basic types of braids are explained here in step by step instructions.

The Basics of Braiding: Detailed guide to various braiding styles which can be applied to fibers or hair. This guide includes 3 strand and 4 strand braiding tutorials as well as how to braid things into the hair.

One of the most common hairstyles for women Native Americans was either one or two long braids. Sometimes the hair would be painted or dyed to decoratively adorn it. Men also wore long braids and sometimes short topknot style braids or a single braid called a scalplock.

Braided hair was also sometimes adorned with beads, feathers or wrapped or tied with animal skins (leather) or fur. Braids were known to be worn in a specific way to indicate status amongst some tribes. For example, married women in the Plains tribe wore two braids hanging down onto their chests. The unmarried women of the same tribe wore their two braids flung back over their shoulders, trailing down their backs.

Most tribes no longer regularly wear the unusual hairstyles most commonly associated with their tribes long ago. These elaborate styles are saved for special ceremonial occasions only. However, many men and women Native Americans still wear braids to this day.

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