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Native American Indian Feather Headdress

Guest Author - Lisa Shea

One of the classic images of a Native American is the tribal leader with a full feather headdress. What is the history behind this headwear?

First, you need to read about Native American Warriors and Feathers. A warrior would earn a feather with each truly brave act he did. Often, he would have to earn his first feather before considered being an adult in the tribe.

As the Indian warrior continued to perform more and more brave acts, he would earn a feather for each act the tribe considered worthy. He would only wear one or two of these - his most treasured ones - into battle. The rest would go onto a pole to walk with on special occasions. When he collected 30 or so feathers, he would have enough to begin a headdress.

Each feather a warrior had earned had special meaning to him, so binding them together into a headpiece was even more special. It is perhaps like collecting very special charms over the years for great achievements, and having them on a charm bracelet. The entire item is lovely, but every individual peace has great meaning.

The warrior would ask his best friends to help him with the task - only men were involved in the handling of feathers. Together they would create the bonnet, and add to it as the warrior earned more feathers.

Indian chiefs with great bonnets full of feathers were not "given" those like a crown is given to a king. Instead, they earned every single feather in that bonnet through brave acts, and it is in fact because of those acts and the honor of his actions that he is then elected chief.

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Native American Warriors and Feathers
American Indian Legend: Origin of Feathers
The Indian Feather Dance
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Content copyright © 2014 by Lisa Shea. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Shea. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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