Native American Indians Headdress

Interested in the Native American Indian headdress? Read our guide for facts and information about Native American Indian headdresses…

The Native Americans are known for having rather animated headdresses. For them the headdress was not just about aesthetic value. Rather it had deep spiritual significance.

In general, head hair was considered to be the extension of the soul for the Native American Indians. Hence they would use various forms of personal medicine and ornaments to decorate the hair. This was topped off with a truly breathtaking headdress.

Native American Headdress Symbolism

While the Native American Indian headdress did make the wearer stand out there was much deeper meaning associated with it. The headdress stood as an expression of the beliefs of the wearer. The Natives believed that by carrying various items they could actually acquire the powers of other animals. This enabled the wearer to gather wisdom and develop an insight that would help him in his daily life.

Although the kind of headdresses worn varied from tribe to tribe there were generally four varieties amongst the warriors of the plains. One of the most famous Native American Indian headdresses is the horned one. Then you have the special golden eagle feather headdress. The more toned down headdress was in the form of a hat or a cap. And perhaps the most awkward, at least for non-Natives was the animal skin type headdress.

The headdress was not something one could wear at will. Rather it was something that every warrior had to earn and the only way to do that was to go into battle. Every feather in the headdress was a symbolic reflection of the deeds that the wearer engaged in. This is why you would find that some warriors had only two or three feathers in their headdresses throughout their life time. This gives you the idea of how difficult it was to earn these feathers.

The bonnet, as it was also known was taken as a symbol of high respect. As such the ordinary people were not allowed to sport the bonnet without special permission from the chief of the tribe. There were different ways of earning the privilege of being able to wear a bonnet. One of the ways in which you could get the honor was to be the first to touch a fallen enemy in a battle. This was so because it signified that the particular individual was at the forefront of the fighting.

Native American Headdress Decoration

The feathers would be decorated in different styles and designs each having a different story to tell. Some would signify killing, others scalping or capturing the enemy’s shield. You could also tell by looking at an individual’s headdress whether he had performed the deed on foot or on horseback.

The chief of every tribe had a very special bonnet for himself. The feathers on his headdress were given to him due to the contributions he had made to the community. But naturally this headdress was worn in great honor. The chief’s headdress would be loaded with many feathers with each feather representing a good deed and thus the chief was held in high honor.

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Howard Feinberg says:

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