The War Bonnet

Called "War Bonnets" in English, these feathered headdresses are known to all and have survived the years to become a true symbol of the Native American. Yet, while we all visualize these majestic headdresses, we often ignore their origin: 

These feather headdresses were traditionally worn with pride and honor among various tribes of the Plains Indians. Indeed, among the Sioux, Crow, Blackfeet or Cheyenne, the War Bonnet is a symbol of power and authority, reserved for Native American men having an important and respectful status: village chief or great warrior for example. 

Originally, War Bonnets were made of eagle feathers, an emblematic animal in Native American culture, representing the link with the Great Spirit. These feathers are embedded in bone sockets and the headband is made of colored glass beads. The headdresses are all different, depending on who is making them and who is wearing them. 

It is said that the classic war bonnet design counts 28 feathers. 28 is a very important number to the Native Americans, it is found in various important elements of life: the buffalo has 28 ribs and the moon has 28 days to complete a cycle. 

Today, feather headdresses can be worn during important ceremonies or official travels.

The Native American headdresses we sell at Harpo are available in our Decorations section and are made by Navajo craftswomen.

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