Published on June 23, 2011 by Amy
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally located in and around the Mississippi Valley. The Choctaw today are found all over the United States with the largest concentrations in Oklahoma, California, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Early Choctaw were known for their adaptability to change. Many aspects of the Choctaw way of life evolved over the years and these changes are readily apparent in Choctaw clothing and dress.
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The traditional clothing of the Choctaw people first seen by European settlers differs greatly from present day traditional Choctaw clothes. Early drawings and reports tell us that the Choctaw’s wore garments very similar to the Plains Indians further west. The men wore simple breechcloths or sometimes leggings made of leather. The women wore simple buckskin dresses with more elaborately decorated dresses for celebrations or tribal games. Both men and women wore moccasins during colder weather.
With the arrival of European explorers and other Native American tribes to the area, the Choctaw people were exposed to different styles of dress, new materials and decorations due to trade with the new visitors. Brightly colored cotton and other cloths were integrated into the clothing style of the Choctaw. The women made ankle-length cotton or wool dresses and decorated them with beads, shells and hand-sewn embellishments. The men wore bright colored pullover shirts and some even adopted coat styles very similar to Europeans.