All About the Indian Headdress

All About the Indian Headdress


When people think of Indian headdresses, they’ll likely assume an eagle-feathered war bonnet. They usually see this particular headwear in movies involving Native Americans. It’s also the kind of headdress generally depicted globally. The Sioux is said to be the first native tribe to utilize such headwear. A Native American headdress is said to be worn by tribe members with significant influence and power.


While a majority have no idea of the symbolic meaning associated with an Indian headdress, many find them as works of art. It’s believed that the Sioux Indians were the first native tribe to have made of what was now thought to be a traditional Indian headdress. Such headdress is often depicted on native Indian chiefs and warriors in paintings. Only those who are considered to be the most powerful and brave are entitled to wearing headdresses.


Golden Eagle and Representations


Feathers used for an Indian headdress usually came from eagles, hawks, or crows. In most native Indian cultures in North America, the Golden Eagle feather represents a mark of an honored tribal warrior. It’s believed the Eagle is faithful messenger from God. Young Native Indian males need to prove they were brave and worthy enough to deserve an eagle feather. A Golden Eagle feather is never given, but had to be earned. This requires trapping the eagle and plucking a single feather off it without causing the bird any harm.


Indian chiefs are also required to “earn” each of their eagle feathers. Typically, the most prized feather that goes well with an Indian headdress is from the Golden Eagle. Since the bird is believed to be God’s messenger, its feathers can only be attained by means of bravery, loyalty, hardship, and strength.


People tend to associate an Indian headdress with its feathers, but not many know what the feathers truly represent. An Indian tribe warrior earned a feather whenever his tribe felt what he did was brave. Most of the time, the first Golden Eagle feather is given to a warrior who is seen as a responsible adult member of a tribe. A warrior wasn’t just directly offered a feather. It requires tedious preparation to receive such honor. That would often requires long days of meditation and fasting.


Wear, Creation, and Customization


Whenever a warrior earns a feather, it was either worn or placed on a pole for special tribal events. Once enough feathers are collected, they’re then put together to form a headdress. Since each feather represents a special meaning, binding them together makes the Indian headdress a lot more special. Only males and closest warrior friends are involved in the headdress creation process.


Before the white man invasion, the tradition of wearing an Indian headdress was common in many North American tribes. However, the style of headdress varied from one tribe to another since each had a cultural representation. The person wearing the headdress would frequently customize it to create a distinct and unique look. There have been instances where Indian headdresses were created to stand out from the crowd. This was meant to show off power, influence, and cultural style.