Buckskin Clothing

Crow Warrior wearing Buckskin Clothing

Buckskin Clothing
Facts and information about the History of Clothing and regalia of Native American Indians and their Buckskin Clothing. Buckskin Clothing is made from soft strong leather, usually yellow or grayish in color, made of smoked deerskin. The name derives from buck + skin, the word 'buck' meaning a male deer.

Buckskin clothing or Buckskins originated from the deerskin clothing worn by Native American Indians but became popular with frontiersmen and mountain men for their durability and their warmth.

Native Indian Buckskin Clothing Fact Sheet

  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 1: Buckskin clothing was made not only from the skin of a deer but also the skins of the moose, elk, and caribou that were also members of the deer family. Leather made from buffalo hides was also used for making clothes
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 2: Deerskin was one of the most valuable materials used by all Native American Indians for many different types of clothing such as shirts, leggings, cloaks, dresses, belts, pouches, bags, moccasins and breech cloths.
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 3: Native Indians showed the utmost respect for the animals they killed. No part of the animal was ever wasted
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 4: The skin was removed from the animal and the process of preparing the skin began. Various processes were applied such as de-hairing, scraping, smoking, softening, stretching, dyeing and decorating the hide
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 5: The hide was first stripped of hair called 'fleshing', dry or wet scrapped and softened by rubbing it with the solution made from boiling the brains and entrails of the animal. Some of the agricultural Native Indian tribes who inhabited the Southern regions also used mashed up maize for the same purpose 
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 6: The softening process continued as the hides were pummelled, stretched and kneaded
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 7: At this stage the leather would become hard and shrink if it became wet so the skin was smoked. Smoking sealed the hide's fibers, thereby preventing them from shrinking and hardening
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 8: The hide was smoked for 1 - 2 hours over a fire pit suspended from pole framework
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 9: The color of the hide was determined by the wood used during the smoking process. A light yellow or buff color was obtained by smoking over young white cedar. A dark tan color resulted by smoking over old white cedar. Southern tribes used corn cobs during the smoking process
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 10: The dyeing process was then employed. Dyes were obtained from a variety of plants and barks to produce brighter red and yellow colors
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 11: The soft and pliable leather was was cut to the desired shape and the garment was sewn with sinew. Patterns were simple and clothes were made according to the size of the hide and the shape of the wearer's body
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 12: The Native Indian clothes was generally only sewn along the shoulder seam, around the arm hole, and for a few inches up the sleeve from the wrist
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 13: The clothes and garments were decorated with natural materials like quills, shells, coral, turquoise, wood and amber. The warrior's clothes were also painted with signs with symbolic meanings and representations of deeds and courage
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 14: Fringes were added for decoration and also to deflect rain and dry faster. According to tradition if a warrior had scalped his enemy, he was allowed to trim his wamus with human hair fringe in addition to the buckskin fringe
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 15: The practical nature of the Native Indian clothes were appreciated by the pioneers, mountain men and frontiersmen who started to use leathers to create the garments commonly referred to as buckskins
  • Buckskin Clothes Fact 16: The Buckskins worn by the frontiersmen, backwoodsmen and mountain men, unlike Native Indian clothes were fully sewn
  • Buckskin Clothes Fact 17: The fringed leather tunic or hunting shirt, called a 'wamus' was a popular garment. The wamus slipped over the head, had no buttons and was either laced shut or held closed with a belt.
  • Buckskin Clothes Fact 18: The wamus, could be worn with or without a shirt and was often decorated across the chest and down the outside seams of the arms with a fringe. The collar was eith small or completely absent
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 19: Wide capes were also added to the wamus tunics, sometimes trimmed with fur, for added protection from the wind and the rain
  • Buckskin Clothing Fact 20: Complete buckskin suits were worn by the frontiersmen. Pants were usually tight fighting and fringed on the outside seams. Coonskin hats often completed the outfit
  • Buckskin Clothes Fact 21: A belt held the hunting tunics closed. The front overlap of the shirt served as a pocket in which a frontiersman carried jerky, journey cake or extra pair of moccasins
  • Buckskin Clothes Fact 22: Davy Crockett, the buckskin-clad 'King of the Wild Frontier' remains a lasting image of the type of man who wore buckskins in the 'Wild West'
  • Buckskin Clothes Fact 23: The frontiersmen obtained the leather for making buckskins cheaply by trading with the Native Indians for small trinkets and beads.
  • Buckskin Clothes Fact 24: During the famous Lewis and Clark expedition the men Corps of Discovery worked on repairing and replacing clothing and moccasins with buckskin during the cold winter months
  • Buckskin Clothes Fact 25: Buckskins enabled both the pioneers and the Native Indians to survive in the harsh conditions of the American West. They offered protection against the wind, rain, sun and the cold. They also protected the wearer from mosquitoes, brush, and sharp branches when hunting in the wilderness.
Native American Clothing
Native Indian Tribes Index

ⓒ 2017 Siteseen Limited

First Published

Cookies Policy


Updated 2018-01-01

Publisher Siteseen Limited

Privacy Statement