Native American Clothing
Whether it’s donning full regalia for a dance to celebrate the hunt or simply keeping warm in the cool of winter, Native American clothing reflects a simple and practical beauty at the same time it plays a huge historical and cultural role in the Native American cultures and tribes.
Traditional Native American Clothing for men includes breechcloths, long flowing garments made of hide or cloth tucked into a leather belt. For women, traditional hide or cloth skirts and leather leggings were the usual Native American clothing worn. Native American clothing was made from natural elements when they first arrived in North America thousands of years prior to the first settlers. As they expanded across North America, Native American clothing began to capitalize on the abundance of animals available for leather and the various plant species that allowed for the creation of stronger tying and weaving materials.
As the settlers began to arrive in the 14 and 1500s, Native American clothing began to incorporate cloths and textiles brought over from Europe and other areas of the world through the numerous and expanding trade routes that were open up around the world, and opening up different cultures.
Regalia Is Steeped In Tradition
The popularized form of Native American clothing, seen on TV and movies, is today called regalia, and is worn for special occasions, including dances, religious ceremonies, births, marriages and other events. In Native American clothing, regalia is a reflection of the Native American culture, and this form of Native American clothing is used as special dress and its styles, colors, shapes, sizes and ornaments will vary from tribe to tribe.
In Native American clothing, regalia includes headdresses, beadwork, braclets, chest plates, war shirts and other forms of Native American clothing that represent specific events, tribal and marital status and more. All regalia must be made using traditional materials and methods to preserve the traditions not only of the ceremony, but of the Native American clothing itself.
Joseph Paige © 2006