Six Nations Regalia

His and Hers RegaliaHis and Hers - Jim Clearwater found this pic.

Six Nations Regalia - Bear Clan NW

Six Nations Regalia - Bear Clan NW

Six Nations Regalia - Bear Clan NW
Li ving off what was available in their natural surroundings, the Haudenosaunee originally made clothing from woven natural fibers, hides from elk or deer, and furs from woodland animals like rabbits or bears. Even corn husks were braided to make moccasins.

The deer is one of the most important animals for the Haudenosaunee nations as every part is used. Its meat provides nourishment, its hides are used for clothing, the sinew use can be for thread and its bones are used as tools or ornaments. Hides are tanned and stretched into soft leather before being used for clothing or footwear. This is done by soaking the skins for several days before loosening any fur and drying it. Smoking the skins produces a different colour and makes the hides water resistant.

Once Europeans began to settle in North America other fibers and decorations were introduced and women began to make clothing out of broadcloth. The Haudenosaunee people also began to replace wooden, stone, or shell beads with glass ones and used more synthetic fibers.

Most nations wear traditional clothing to long house ceremonies or special events.

Men’s clothing

The primary garment for men of most nations is the breech cloth. This is a long rectangular piece of cloth or sometimes soft buckskin worn between the legs and secured on a belt. For special occasions a man might also wear an apron or breechcloth cover. This is a specially embroidered panel with intricate beadwork or embellished with porcupine quills. To cover bare legs men wear long leggings which connect to the belt on their breechcloth. Men might also wear kilts made of soft skins.

Every nation has a type of moccasin or foot covering. Moccasins are low, soft soled foot coverings made of tougher skins, often moose. Some have decorated flaps that are sewn on after the original construction is done making them easier to remove and add to new moccasins when the old ones wear out. Because they are were not always the most durable on hunting trips extra moccasins are often brought along.

Finally gustoweh’s are an important piece of men’s clothing as it is a piece of his identity. A gustoweh is a frame or cap headpiece decorated with beads and most importantly feathers attached in a way that distinguishes different nations. For example the Mohawk nation’s gustoweh contains three upright eagle feathers.

Women’s Clothing
Women generally wear skirts and overdresses. Simple skirts could be a large piece of hide tied around the waste, fringed at the bottom. Women also wear leggings but theirs are shorter only coming up to just above the knee. Women’s moccasins are much the same as men though cut slightly different. Women have various hair ornaments that they make to wear.

Men and women add embellishments to their clothing using glass, wooden, shell and stone beads, feathers and porcupine quills. These embellishments are often symbols of clans or artistic expressions of the creation story. Deer hooves are also used on dance regalia to create a jingling garter.

Children and Babies
Haudenosaunee children dress in similar clothing to their parents including breech cloths and ribbon shirts. The clothing for children is to promote free movement and independence. Babies are usually swaddled and carried on a cradle board until they are old enough to walk.

6 Nations Regalia