When one mentions Native Americans, most immediately envision the intricate feathered headdresses they are often depicted of wearing in early days. They continue to go hand-in-hand in sculptures, paintings, and other expressions of art. But many do not know the details behind the magnificent headdress so many Native Americans wear. With that in mind, we at Carve Me A Bear! Chainsaw Carvings would like to share a brief account of the Native American Headdress.
War Bonnet; Ceremonial & Worn into Battle
These headdresses are actually war bonnets, this designed headwear which are traditionally worn by male leaders, who have earned a place of great respect in their tribe, of the American Plains Indians Nations. Now primarily used for ceremonial occasions, the iconic headdress was actually originally worn into battle. Exclusively worn by those who have earned the right and honor through formal recognition by their people, the war bonnet is seen as an item of great spiritual and political importance.
Receiving an Eagle Feather; Native American Indian Meaning
The presentation of an eagle feather is considered to be one of their highest marks of respect by Native American tribes. Their feather was gained through selfless acts of courage and honor, or gifted them in gratitude for their work or service to their tribe, is how the honorary person earned their tribute. Political and diplomatic gains or acts that helped their community survive and prosper are a few examples of how they brought themselves honor, as well as traditional deed including acts of valor in battle. In many cases, only 2 or 3 honor feathers might be awarded in their whole lifetime because the esteem attached to eagle feathers was so high. According to history, the warrior who was the first to touch an enemy in battle and escape unscathed received an eagle feather. After the honored collected enough feathers, they would then be incorporated into the headdress or in other forms of worn regalia. However, the headdresses were usually reserved exclusively for the tribe’s chosen political and spiritual leaders.
Roman Nose Cheyenne American Indian
Known for his illustrious war bonnet was one of the most influential Cheyenne warriors of the Plain Indian Wars of the 1860s, Roman Nose, was said to protect him during battle. He would ride back and forth before soldiers of the United States Army and despite being fired upon he was left unscathed as recorded in several instances.
When is Wearing a Native American Indian Headdress Offensive?
Historically, women did not wear the Plains war bonnet, but the women would have the traditional regalia that can include other types of headdresses. Ceremonially gifted with headdresses of the type that were formerly only worn by men, however, a few Indigenous women in recent years have attained a very high level of respect in their communities. Many Native Americans now consider the wearing of headdresses without the express permission of tribal leaders to be an insult to their culture and traditions due to the historical importance and status it holds. Consequently, the cause of controversy has stemmed from cases where non-Native political leaders have been symbolically allowed to wear the headdress.
Native American Wood Chainsaw Carvings Carved in Las Vegas, Nevada & Helena, Montana
With the notable respect the headdress offers Native Americans, those who respect culture can understand the value of the ceremonial war bonnet and the significance it holds. Carve Me A Bear! Chainsaw Carvings offers many Native American carvings and can also create your own custom design. Check out our inventory to complete your Native American art collection.