Q:

What clothes did the Northwest Coast Indians wear?

A:

The Northwest Coast Indian women wore bark skirts while the men often went naked. The men would only wear covering when the weather was cold.

The Native Americans of the Northwest Coast lived along the Pacific Ocean, from southern Alaska, through the Canadian province of British Columbia, into Washington and Oregon. Famous tribes of Northwest Coast American Indians included the Haida, Chinook, Coast Salish, Eyak, Tlingit, Chimakum and Tillamook. Their way of life was influenced by the climate, land and the ample natural resources available in the area. Agriculture and hunting were the primary sources of livelihood. Language, trading currencies, religions and ceremonies were important aspects in Northwest Coast Indian culture.

One of the most abundant natural resources found in the coastal regions of Northwest America was the red cedar tree. The women made bark skirts using the softened wood of the cedar tree. Cold-weather clothing was made out of the inner bark of the tree. Other clothing materials included animal leather and wool.

The Northwest Coast Indians also wore jewelry. Necklaces made out of beaver teeth, clam shells, bear claws and albacore were constantly displayed as symbols of wealth. During traditional ceremonies, the dancers often wore animal masks, body paint and adorned themselves with feathers.


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