Plains
Just like all other native people, the people of the Pacific Northwest 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 cold and rainy in the winter they added animal skin or woven cedar shirts and leggings. Women wore skirts and capes of woven cedar strips. In the winter, clothing was made of animal skins. Even in winter, people often went barefoot.


This is what traditional cedar clothing of the northwest was like.


Library of Congress Photos,
University of Washington Libraries

This man is wearing ceremonial dress for a Potlatch.

After the Europeans came to the area with goods to trade with the native people, the clothing was made from woven cloth and was more European in style.
Men designed the pattern for the ceremonial blankets and painted them on boards. Women then wove the blankets on a loom. The threads were made of cedar bark wrapped in mountain goat hair.
It took many months to weave a blanket. The threads were put in pouches to protect them when they were not being woven.

Library of Congress Photo, University of Washington Libraries
These women are wearing ceremonial clothing. Notice the mixture of native tops and European style skirts.

This is a group of Pacific Northwest people who today still enjoy the traditions of their culture.
By the middle of the 1800's, the button blanket like the one in the picture below began to be made. They were made of blue trade blankets and decorated with designs of red fabric. White pearl or shell buttons were added around the design. These blankets were only used in ceremonies and Potlatches. The woven hat has rings on top to indicate how many Potlatches this man has given.

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