Q:

What did the Blackfoot Indians wear?

A:

Blackfoot Indians wore clothing made out of deer and antelope hide decorated with beads, porcupine quills and feathers. Women wore long fringed dresses, while men dressed in leggings and occasionally wore buckskin shirts. Robes were made from buffalo hide. Children dressed similarly to men with shirts, leggings and moccasins. Chiefs distinguished themselves with tall, ornate feathered headdresses.

Women were responsible for clothing production and often wore bracelets and necklaces made out of seashells. They also occasionally made jewelry out of metal. They wore their hair loose, sometimes braiding it into two long plaits.

Men and women painted their faces for special occasions, and the exact style depended on whether it was for a celebration, ceremony or for war. They used iron and other minerals to produce red, green and orange dyes and paints. Buffalo gall bladders provided yellows.

Buffalo were crucial to the lives of the Blackfoot Indians. They were a nomadic tribe, following buffalo across the plains in groups ranging from 80 to 240 people. Members of these bands freely intermingled and joined others. Buffalo were a valuable food source, and their hides were turned into clothing and shelter. The Blackfoot Indians' dependence on buffalo was so extreme that when white settlers hunted them to extinction, they were forced to give up their way of life entirely and become ranchers and farmers.


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