Native American Headdress

When most people visualize Native American headdresses, they think of the classic plains tribes with their extravagant feathers. However, there are many other forms of Native American headdresses.

There is a wide variety of Native American headdresses. Some use feathers; others horse hair, fur, or beads. There are options that are quite large and others that fit closely to the skull. Some even cover the face completely by incorporating a mask element.

The feather war bonnet is the one most typically imagined when discussing headdresses; however, it is indicative of the central plains Indians and not a universal standard. The feather of an eagle is used frequently in such a headdress and has a special significance. The eagle is highly regarded as the Creator's messenger and possessing one of the feathers of this messenger was a great honor.

The buffalo headdress also signified great honor, usually due to courage. The size of the headdress varied but typically, the horns and part of the hide were included.

Some of the headdresses worn seem almost European and, in fact, they were probably created with some European influence. The Seminole turban is one such example. These were made usually with patterned wool and wrapped tightly about the head.

Native American women also had special headdresses, although they are less common and more difficult to find. Headdresses designed to celebrate a wedding ceremony are one of the more common forms.

Native American headdress options are as numerous as Native American cultures. The cultural uniqueness has been partially ignored by non Native Americans over the years. Learning about the various tribal preferences can teach one much about the individual cultures.

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