Published on March 25, 2013 by Casey
Basket hats (also known as twined caps or basketry hats) were the most common type of Native American headdress west of the Rocky Mountains. Different tribes made basket hats in different shapes and styles. California Indian tribes usually made small rounded or fez-shaped basket caps from tightly coiled sumac, like the Hupa Indian hat below. Northwest Coast tribes like the Haida and Salish often made larger hats in more conical or brimmed shapes from fibers such as cedar bark or spruce root.
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In California and the Plateau tribes, basket hats were normally worn only by women and girls, and their designs were mostly decorative. On the Northwest Coast, both men and women wore basketry headgear, for dance regalia and ceremonial purposes as well as everyday life. Northwest Coast basket hat designs often conveyed information about a person’s clan, achievements, or status within the tribe.