Native American Moccasins

Published on January 6, 2012 by Amy

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Native American Moccasins
Native American Moccasins

Native American moccasins were thought to originate from the eastern Indian tribes of the United States. The harsh conditions of winter for the Native American cultures made it necessary to have something to keep their feet warm so they could still hunt and work to provide for their tribesman. All of the great Native American tribes had their own version of Native American moccasins, and the way they designed these was different for the different climates in which the tribes lived in.

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The Native Americans made these shoes from animal hides, just like the majority of their other clothing. When they hunted they used every possible part of the animals and this can be seen in all of the different Native American cultures, from their shoes to their homes. As with all Indian inventions they were different for different tribes and these moccasins were usually made in order for the Native Americans to protect their feet but also so they could walk quietly for the purpose of hunting.

Native American moccasins were made the same way by many tribes, but the beads and decorations they were adorned with were very different. Woodland Indian moccasins were usually adorned with floral designs. The Woodland tribes did not usually cover the sides of the moccasins. The cuff around the ankle was usually decorated as well. Sometimes a piece of velvet or leather was sewn on top of the cuff. When the soles wore out on the moccasins they were able to just remove them and replace them, keeping the decorated sides intact. The Native American moccasins of the Plains Indians usually had the cuff undecorated, but instead they used beads and quillwork to decorate the instep sections of the moccasins. Some Native American moccasins were completely decorated from the heel to the toe and moccasins that were specifically designed for marriage were usually totally covered in beads.

Some Native American cultures prepared moccasins for the afterlife, and these moccasins were completely adorned with beads, even on the soles. The soles of the Indian moccasins varied from area to area as well, with harder soles being made out of a couple pieces of animal hides for more protection in the rougher lands. Moccasins are one of many Native American inventions that you still see widely in use today, where they can be purchased from many places and are still one of the most comfortable pieces of footwear you will find.

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