Covering the head

For the most part, Native Americans went bareheaded. Most often their elaborate hairstyles were decorated with simple headbands or ornaments. However, headgear was important for ceremonies and cold or rainy weather. Both men and women in the Northwest wore large woven hats to protect them from the rain. These hats were often painted with designs or woven in shapes to identify the social status of the wearer. Men of the Haida tribe, for example, would wear tall, wide-brimmed hats woven of spruce tree roots with rings added to the top for gifts given at ceremonial feasts called potlatches. In the winter many Native American tribes, and especially those living in the Subarctic and Arctic, wore fur caps.

The most recognized headgear of Native Americans was the feathered headdress. Originally worn by warriors of the Plains tribes, the headdress became popular among other tribes as well.


Dubin, Lois Sherr. North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: From Prehistory to the Present. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999.

Paterek, Josephine. Encyclopedia of American Indian Costume. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1994.

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