Just like all other native people, the plateau, Great Basin and California tribes dressed in materials found in the region where they lived. In hot weather, men wore breechcloths made of animal skins or woven grass or reeds. When it got colder, especially in the northern part of the region, they added deerskin shirts, leggings, and moccasins. Women wore dresses of skins, and later of cotton. Decoration was of porcupine quills, elk teeth or beads.

Library of Congress Photos Nrz Perce woman, man, children

Before European traders came to the area, people used animal skins to make clothing. In the late 1800,s, cloth was used to make clothes. This Nez Perce woman is wearing a dress made of cloth. Often dresses and shirts were beaded or covered with elk teeth or shells. The friendship bag at the woman's feet is used to carry belongings and is made of woven plant fibers. Only the Nez Perce used bags such as this one. The cradleboard that the baby is in is also beaded.




Nez Perce Chief Looking Glass was a great warrior. Notice that his horse is decorated, too.

Below is a painting of what daily life might have been like. The man on the left is painting an animal skin. The home is a kind of wickiup, and the warrior is sitting upon an appaloosa horse. His hair is not braided. The canoe was used for fishing in the rivers.

Library of Congress Photo A posed picture of a Ute community taken in Colorado is on the left. Notice the warbonnets with upright eagle feathers. The women in front wear dresses made of cotton and decorated with elk teeth.

A Ute bride and groom from the Great Basin region dressed in their finest clothing and decorations.

National Archive Photos


Library of Congress Photo

A Shoshone Scout

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