American Indian Head Dress

Want to learn more about the Indian head dress? Read on for facts and info about traditional headdresses worn by Native American Indians …

Native Indians range from the Plains, Sioux, Cheyenne and other tribes specific to different areas across the American landscape. Their headdress and other clothing were decorated in distinct manner to identify one tribe from another. When it comes to the Warriors of the Plains they had four typical headdresses. One was created out of animal skin, another from the feathers of Golden Eagles, the basic or hat and the headdress with horns on it.

Importance of the Feathered Indian Headdress

The feathered Indian headdress worn by the Plains Indian was not simply an ornament but in fact an item that has special importance in their life. It was a reflection of their beliefs: the objects used to create this headdress were basically animal skins and bird feathers.

These were said to impart the special skills and powers of the animals and birds to the wearer of the headdress. Therefore in order to get wisdom and insight from the powers of nature, native Indians used to add these elements to the headdress. However, the feathers signified bravery and you could not simply where a headdress but it had to be earned.

This could be in the form of courage displayed during battle or different acts of bravery in terms of saving someone’s life, scalping an enemy and taking their weapons, killing an enemy, defending the tribe from a natural disaster or an animal attack. It is interesting to note that throughout their lifetime some of the best Indian warriors managed to get three or four feathers in their cap.

These were always approved by the elders of the tribe and were taken very seriously. Each feather was decorated and notched to depict the particular event and carry on the story of the display of courage.

Sioux Indian Headdress Materials

When it comes to the Sioux Indians their headdress reflected a lot of animals. They use dyes to color the feathers and strung beads and hawk bells to make the huge headdress look festive and well decorated. It is common to see Buffalo horns, hawk bells and deer or bison fur in the creation of Sioux Indian headdresses. In order to color the headdress natural clay pigments in blue color was very popular. Horsehair and Buffalo hair from the tail of the animal was utilized to create braids and embellish the headdress.

The headdress often had a tail following behind it as an extension of the person’s hair. In fact the Indians considered the hair as an extension of a person’s soul. This is the reason why it was always braided carefully and groomed by both men and women. The headdress is often lying on the inside with deer skin to keep it soft and supple along with making it durable.

It was commonly known that the Blackfoot Indian tribe had vertical headdresses standing up from the head. The other Indian tribes like the Cheyenne and the Pawnee utilized basic geometric designs in the form of a brow band which was decorated with beads. For the Plains Indians these war bonnets were quite easy to use because there was no obstruction when they wore them while horse riding or on foot due to the landscape of the area they were residing in.


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