Time to Give Thanks: A Mini Guide to Traditional Native American Clothing and Accessories

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Popular on T-shirts, earrings, and rear-view mirrors, so many people identify dreamcatchers as a whimsical symbol or Native cultures.

Dreamcatchers are traditionally made by Ojibwa (Chippewa) people in the Great Lakes region. However, today this item has become pan-indian, meaning people of many American tribes make Dreamcatchers or use it as a symbol.

While most Native cultures are extremely inclusive, the over commercialization of the dreamcatcher has meant that its become trendy and for many- completely removed from it Native origin.


The wild, over sexualized image of a Native woman in buckskin can be seen in far too many places. (I'm looking at you, Hooters.) Ironic, since traditionally speaking buckskin is fashioned into some pretty warm outfits used both everyday and for special occasions, too.

Long Apache buckskin dresses, for example, are a far cry from the "Pocahottie" image portrayed in the media. In current times, Apache girls who have reached puberty take part in a Sunrise ceremony, a traditional right of passage. During this ceremony, young girls who in previous weeks wore jeans and T-shirts will wear heavy buckskin dresses as part of this special, traditional ceremony. You'll also find Native artists and crafters who use continue to use buckskin in jewelry, purses and more form-fitting dresses made for more everyday wear.

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Kate Crowley
Contact: Kate Crowley