War Bonnets (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: In Plains societies, a war bonnet was one of the most valued articles that a warrior could own
Plains culture centered on the hunt and war, making conflict an integral part of western Indian society. The war bonnet was one way warriors recorded their achievements in battle. Two types of bonnets characterized those headdresses designed for battle: the golden eagle-feathered headdress and the split-horned bonnet.
The golden eagle-feathered bonnet was fashioned by placing twenty-eight to thirty-six eagle tail feathers into a circular skullcap base made of buffalo hide. The different cone shapes formed by the arrangement of the feathers were often an indication of the tribe to which the owner belonged. The tail of the bonnet, also made from buffalo hide, hung from the cap to the ground and was decorated with approximately thirty eagle tail feathers. The feathers were attached by their quills with rawhide and flannel cloth. Fixed to these feathers with glue and white clay were horse hair and eagle feathers. The size of these war bonnets was considerable; however, they could be rolled and folded into a diameter of eight inches, then reopened to achieve their perfect shape.
Every part of the eagle-feathered headdress had special meaning that was understood by the tribe members, including the tubular form of the Cheyenne and Blackfoot war bonnets. The feathers standing straight up from the skullcap were...
(The entire section is 514 words.)
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