In the current surge of interest in the history and culture of the American Indian it has become obvious that detailed information about many aspects of Indian life is all but inaccessible to any but the most diligent researchers. In the matter of Indian dress there are, of course, the stereotypes worn by actors in motion pictures and television productions, but they are for the most part highly inaccurate, crafted in designers’ studios for effect rather than authenticity.
This book assembles for the first time reliable information about the dress of the Plains Indians. In counters the misconception that all the tribes of the central region dressed alike. Although certain similarities could be found among the groups, each tribe had its own distinctive traditions and preferences in cut, color, decorative symbols, and trim, as well as in style of hair and headdress, footwear, and accessories. The author became aware of the need for a book such as this when he was helping make Indian costumes for exhibitions and dances. He searched early monographs, other reliable documents, and museums to compile for his own use the information on which this book is based.
The hobbyist, as well as the historian and anthropologist, will find here the information he has been seeking: patterns of shirts, robes, and moccasins; colors and designs used by specific tribes; the symbolism of details of ceremonial dress. The visitor to Indian gatherings will recognize old-and-new style elements in the dance costumes and learn to appreciate their meanings.