Do you want to know about the importance of American Indian feathers? Are you interested in finding out about the connotations associated with the different Native Indian feathers? Read on for facts & information…
The image of Indian feathers is often synonymous with Native American Culture. The indigenous Indians would collect the feathers of various birds, which were then used for different purposes like making headdresses, clothes, to decorate weapons and for spiritual purposes. The feathers of eagle particularly held a very important place in Native American Culture. The headdresses made through the use of different feather were known by distinct names.
The symbolic meaning of different feathers and the purpose that they were used for varied from tribe to tribe. However, in all tribes certain feathers were revered. These Indian feathers particularly the eagle feathers are so important in the Native American culture that The American Constitution allows members of native communities to collect them while others are prohibited from doing so.
As far as reverence for feathers is concerned, the feathers of the golden eagle are considered to be the most important spiritually and otherwise. They were only awarded to the bravest warriors of the tribe. The award ceremony would be a very elaborate affair where the warriors would sometimes be painted in red to signify their courageous deeds. They would then be presented with a headdress made from the feathers of a golden eagle by the elders of the tribe. This type of war bonnet or headdress has feathers hanging out down the face in an oval shape. Alternatively another popular type of headdress is the one that has the feathers sticking straight up. In this type of war bonnet the eagle feathers are made to stand up straight, making it taller than the other varieties
Apart from the feathers of different birds, the headdresses would have intricate beadwork and other adornments which would generally be made out of animal skin. However, the name and the significance of a headdress would be judged from the feathers in it. These feathers held the most prominence and would be used to give the headdress its symbolic meaning. Even though the present day Indians do not use headdresses often, this has in no way mitigated the importance of Indian feathers in ceremonial and religious practices. It is not unusual to see the Crow elders using feather halo headdresses even today
Today you will find the designs of Indian feathers used in tattoos. These are usually coupled with other designs like birds and the dream catcher. You can also find several native Indian artifacts made with feathers of different birds in most memorabilia stores.