Native American Clothes

Published on October 26, 2011 by Amy

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Native American Dress
Native American Dress

Many people have the idea that all native Americans dressed the same in the past, but this idea is as absurd as people thinking that all Americans dress the same in today’s world. While the different tribes did have some things in common when it comes to Native American clothes, there were also a variety of deviations from tribe to tribe as well. It was actually important that the tribes dressed distinctively because this was often a way that people could tell which tribe an Indian was from. The variations of Native American clothes were important and it is important for us to understand them.

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The men in many of the Native American tribes wore breechclothes and often that was all they would wear. If it got colder, sometimes the men would wear leather leggings that were attached to their breechclothes for extra warmth. Other tribes had men wearing kilts and some others even had men wear trousers that were made of furs. While most men did not ever wear shirts the Plains Indians did at times wear shirts when they were going to war. These shirts were known as war shirts and were especially decorated for them to wear as they went into battle.

The Native American clothes that the women wore were somewhat different. Many of the women wore leggings with their skirts, and the skirts usually were quite different depending on the tribe. Some of the tribes had women wearing tunic style shirts, while others saw shirts as an optional piece of clothing for women. There were other tribes whose women actually wore dresses that were often made of buckskin.

All the tribes had some style of footwear, although they too differed from tribe to tribe. Some wore moccasins and others wore a mukluk. It is obvious that the styles of Native American clothes and even the footwear were as different and varied as the tribes themselves. Unfortunately over time as the tribes were driven away from their homes they eventually did begin to dress more and more alike until today many people forget that there was ever any variation.

Source: indians Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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