Many nations share the North American continent; the diversities of clothing styles of Native Americans are documented in this book. Offering complete descriptions and the cultural context of the dress and ornamentation of these Americans, this authoritative book is accessible to everyone from the upper elementary student to adults.
The book is divided into 10 cultural regions north of Mexico. Each region is described in a general manner. The tribes that inhabited the area are listed in a table at the beginning of the chapter, and those that are further described are followed by a page number. The description of the costume of each specific tribe is given in a consistent order, including men's basic, women's basic, footware, outer wear, hairstyles, headgear, accessories, jewelry, armor, special costumes, garment decoration, face and body embellishment, and masks. A final paragraph on transitional dress refers to how clothing changed after involvement with Europeans. Beyond the basic description, the author includes insight into the culture, natural materials, and societal influences that led to the diversity of costumes. More than 400 large black-and-white photographs, some of them by famous photographers such as Edward Curtis, and drawings and paintings by noted artists, such as Karl Bodmer and George Catlin, illustrate the entries. A list of key sources for the information follows each entry. Appendixes include a glossary and descriptions of the materials used in clothing and the techniques of their production, with line drawings of many articles. An extensive bibliography, divided by cultural region, is followed by a detailed index. The index lists not only tribes and pieces of clothing, but also such subjects as puberty customs and looms.
Although technically a book on clothing, the Encyclopedia of American Indian Costume would serve well in the college, public, or school library for broader research on the many tribes listed.
"This impressive reference work took ten years to write, and the waiting was well worth it. Nothing of this scope and magnitude on this subject has been done before. Highly recommended for all libraries."