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Wôbanaki Boy's Clothing from 1800

By 1800, quite a few Wôbanaki people were living in a manner very similar to those Americans and Canadians of European descent. They often wore the same styles of clothes, lived in the same kinds of houses and had many of the same types of possessions. Many Native people, however, kept some elements of tradition, by wearing moccasins and leggings, decorating their clothing with silver ornaments, or keeping their hair long. Some chose to keep traditional ways of life and to acquire just a few European items, like the boy described here, who wears a few items of clothing from the French Canadian people.

As a very young boy or girl, a Wôbanaki child might wear only a breechclout or nothing at all in the warm weather. Otherwise, children would dress like their parents. Wôbanaki people slept in what was most suited to the season. In the winter this would mean wearing several layers to bed; in hot weather a child might sleep without clothing.

Among the numerous items for trade in the 1800s were wool, linen, silk, and cotton cloth, ready-made shirts and coats, knitted wool hats and mittens, felted wool top hats, glass beads, silver jewelry, and metal axe heads and knife blades. Native American people in New England would trade with European people in either Canada or the United States. Items they received might come from England, France, Holland, or as far away as India and China.

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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