Native American Headdress

Different types and styles of Native American headdress
worn by six Blackfoot chiefs

Native American Headdress
Facts and information about the History of Clothing and regalia of Native American Indians and the Native American Headdress. There were many different types and styles of Native American Headdress. The types of headdresses not only varied from one tribe to another but the types of headdresses also varied within a tribe.

Native Indians are most closely associated with the magnificent feathered war bonnets worn by the buffalo hunting tribes of the Great Plains. However, this is only a small part of the the story. Ceremonial headdresses were worn by practically every tribe across the North American continent from Florida all the way up to Alaska. This article contains interesting facts about the Native American Headdress.

Native American Headdress Fact Sheet

  • Native American Headdress Fact 1: The Native Indian Tribes wore many different styles of head gear which varied according to their location, the materials available, the beliefs of the tribe and the symbolism attached to them.
  • Native American Headdress Fact 2: They were highly intricate items of clothing and only worn by the men of the tribes.
  • Native American Headdress Fact 3: Many of the headdresses were so intricate in their design that it was not practical to wear them when engaged in hunting expeditions or war parties. These highly symbolic headdresses were therefore only worn on ceremonial occasions
  • Native American Headdress Fact 4: Other designs were created to suit general, day to day purposes. Some tribes wore hats for protection against the rain, the blazing sun and the cold. Other warlike tribes created intimidating headdresses to terrify their enemies 
  • Native American Headdress Fact 5: The tribes of the Great Plains including the Sioux, Cheyenne and the Chippewa wore the long, trailing feather headdresses referred to as war bonnets.
  • Native American Headdress Fact 6: Feathered War bonnets came in several different styles such as the Halo war bonnets, Buffalo Horn Headdresses, Halo War bonnets, Straight-up Feathered War bonnets,  and the famous long trailing feathered war bonnet 
  • Native American Headdress Fact 7: The war bonnets all featured different types of feathers that were a symbolic reflection of the brave deeds and battles of a warrior. The more feathers, the braver the warrior
  • Native American Headdress Fact 8: The upright crown and plume ceremonial headdress is perhaps the least known of all the Native American headdresses and was worn by Californian tribes such as the Maidu, the Pomo and the Shasta
  • Native American Headdress Fact 9: The complex crown style headdress consisted of a flicker feather headband, a feather crown and a feather plume
  • Native American Headdress Fact 10: The flicker quill headbands of the crown headdress covered the forehead and were tied at the back
  • Native American Headdress Fact 11: Roach headdress, also called porcupine roaches, was often worn by warriors of tribes such the Sauk, Fox,  Kansa, Crees, Mohawk, Huron and the Pawnee  tribes to intimidate their enemies
  • Indian Headdress Fact 12: Many of the Shawnee Native Indians favored bandana style head wear as did the Cherokee
  • Indian Headdress Fact 13: The turban style headdress that was worn by many of the southeastern tribes including the Seminole, the Yuchi and the Pima. The turban was made with strips of cloth, such as calico or wool and wrapped around their head like a turban. The turban style headdress was often decorated with a feather plume which was considered to be of spiritual significance holding great power.
  • Indian Headdress Fact 14: Weaved hats were worn by Aleut men during important ceremonies that were made from from dune wildrye grass found in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska
  • Indian Headdress Fact 15: The Tsimshian tribe of the Pacific Northwest Coast originated the Chilkat weaving technique and wore woven hats for practical purposes
  • Indian Headdress Fact 16: The Tlingit tribe wore wore basketry hats made of finely woven spruce root and bear grass
  • Indian Fact 17: The Plateau men of the Modoc and Klamath Tribes wore undecorated basket hats in the summer and fur hats in the winter

For additional facts about headwear refer to the articles on Roach Headdresses, Feather Headdresses, War Bonnets and Native American Turbans.

Native American Clothing
Native Indian Tribes Index

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Updated 2018-01-01

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