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The information and drawings for this article come from the book "The Mystic Warriors of the Plains: The culture, arts, crafts and religion of the Plains Indians" written and profusely illustrated by Thomas E. Mails. The book was first published in 1971 by Mallard Press. The book is available for purchase new and used at  and . Check your local library to read this book for free. My intent is only to spark your interest in the writings by Thomas E. Mails and send you further on a journey of reading his very informative works. ~~ Spotted Wolf

  Four Types of Headdresses
      Horned Headdress
     Pictures of Horned Headdresses
      Golden Eagle Feather Headdress
     Pictures of Golden Eagle Feather Headdresses
      Hat ~ Cap ~ Roach
      Animal's Skin Headdress
  Storage of Headdresses

     Generally the Indian loves everything that flutters in the wind. Thus he wears his hair long; his horse's tail and mane are long. He loves to have hides fringed and uses colored ribbons. Every kind of fringe and feather, but especially eagle feathers, please him so much that very often he would not relinquish things of this kind for a whole world of useful goods. And it must be admitted that in the eyes of a vain man the costume of an Indian riding through camp at full gallop is not without its charm. 1

     Because he considered it to be an extension of his soul, the Indian warrior groomed and cultivated his hair with infinite patience. To embellish it further he added pieces of personal medicine and ornaments, and topped it all off with a selection of breath-taking headdresses. Of course, in accordance with the Indian's spiritual attitude, a headdress had to be more than an adornment. It, like all of the other things he used and wore, had to be an expression of his beliefs. It must assist him in the accomplishment of his goals and it must do so by the employment of the most powerful helpers of the One-Above. It was believed that a person acquired the powers of other animals, birds, objects, and of the elements, by taking some part of them unto himself; wearing or carrying these things, by reflecting upon them, and by imitating their manner of life, he gathered added wisdom and was able to duplicate their most important qualities. It followed that the shape of a headdress must also seek to express its purpose, and it did so in a marvelous way-as a study of headdresses shows.


     Four types or styles of headdresses were worn by the mystic warriors of the Plains. There was the horned headdress, the golden eagle feather headdress, the hat or cap which was a smaller type of covering than the horned and feather bonnets, and animal-skin type which employed the animal's skin in something akin to its natural state. All other varieties could be placed as subdivisions in one or the other of these categories.


Horned Headdress
Golden Eagle Feather Headdress
Hat ~ Cap ~ Roach
Animal's Skin Headress

NEXT- Horned Headresses

PAGES IN THIS ARTICLE [ Introduction~Four Types ] Horned Headdresses ] Pictures of Horned Headdresses ] Golden Eagle Feather Headresses ] Pictures of Golden Eagle Feather Headdresses ] Hat~Cap~Roach ] Animal's Skin Headresses ] Headdress Storage ] Conclusion~Footnotes ]

CREE WARRIOR ~ He wears two coup (or war honor) feathers in his fur cap, which is made of bobcat fur. Over his shoulders is a Hudson Bay blanket. The buffalo hide shirt is adorned with six porcupine quill horse tracks indicating the number of horse raids he participated in. ~ Thomas E. Mails
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