Wôbanaki Woman's Clothing from 1700
Wôbanaki people did not have special clothing
for sleeping. They slept in what seemed most suited for
the season. In the winter this would mean wearing several
layers to bed and in the hot weather one might sleep
Wôbanaki people believed it was a good idea to
protect sensitive areas of the body, such as joints,
the neck, ears and face, with jewelry, garters, and tattoos.
By these means, they believed that dangerous energy or
spirits could not enter their bodies. Jewelry with complicated
patterns, reflective surfaces, and dangling and jangling
pieces such as bells or metal cones, all helped to confuse
harmful forces. Porcupine quill embroidery, beading,
fringe, and ribbons might be added to the edges of clothing,
both to offer protection and to encourage connections
with desirable plants and animals.. For instance, the
hem of a skirt might be decorated with ribbon, or the
flaps on a pair of moccasins might be decorated with
beads or porcupine quill embroidery.
Among the numerous items available through trade in
the 1700s were wool and linen cloth, ready-made shirts
and coats, knitted wool hats and mittens, glass beads,
brass kettles, paint pigments such as vermillion, and
metal axe and spear heads and knife blades. Native American
people in New England would trade with the French in
New France or the English in the American colonies. Items
they received might come from England, France, Holland,
or as far away as India.
Navigate to each layer of this activity by clicking on the "Next" and "Previous" buttons. Using your cursor, roll over each image to learn about the unfamiliar clothing.
Non-interactive, printable version of this activity
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