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Blackfeet Tribe, How they Lived

The primitive clothing of the Blackfeet was made of the dressed skins of certain animals. Women seldom wore a head covering. Men, however, in winter generally used a cap made of the skin of some small animal, such as the antelope, wolf, badger, or coyote. As the skin from the head of these animals often formed part of the cap, the ears being left on, it made a very odd-looking head-dress. Sometimes a cap was made of the skin of some large bird, such as the sage-hen, duck, owl, or swan. The ancient dress of the women was a shirt of cow skin, with long sleeves tied at the wrist, a skirt reaching half-way from knees to ankles, and leggings tied above the knees, with sometimes a supporting string running from the belt to the leggings. In more modern times, this was modified, and a woman’s dress consisted of a gown or smock, reaching from the neck to below the knees. There were no sleeves, the armholes being provided with top coverings, a sort of cape or flap, which reached to the elbows. Leggings were of course still worn. They reached to the knee, and were generally made, as was the gown, of the tanned skins of elk, deer, sheep, or antelope. Moccasins for winter use were made of buffalo robe, and of tanned buffalo cow skin for summer wear. The latter were always made with parfleche soles, which greatly increased their durability, and were often ornamented over the instep or toes with a three-pronged figure, worked in porcupine quills or beads, the three prongs representing, it is said,...

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