Published on June 23, 2011 by Amy
Ceremonial dress for the men includes brightly dyed shirts with meticulously beaded or sewn decorations. Many of the decorations have symbolic meanings. The diamond design seen on many traditional clothing refers to the diamond-backed rattlesnake. The crossed stick and ball design denotes a stickball game popular to the Choctaw. Some men also wear small felt hats or feathers in their hair and sashes or beaded belts.
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Women’s clothing for ceremonies and events has stayed much the same since the 1800s. The patterns and sewing techniques for ceremony dress are passed down from generation to generation. The basic dress is similar to frontier dresses with the length reaching to the ankle or just above. The hem is sometimes decorated with ruffles or lace. An apron is worn over the dress and ribbons are hung on the back of the neck. For centuries, women have worn a traditional hair comb. Initially these combs were worn towards the front of the face, but these days, it’s more commonly worn at the back of the crown.
Today, most Choctaws wear modern clothing found anywhere in America including jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. With the exception of some older tribal members, traditional clothing is usually reserved for ceremonies and inter-tribal meetings.