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Paint and feathers...

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  • Paint and feathers...

    I see it all the time in movies and documentaries. Indians wearing war paint in a variety of colors, and hundreds of feathers lining their costumes. My question is, was warpaint put on with specific guidelines or purpose, or was it applied to the Indians fancy? And also, did feathers have a specific meaning, i.e. Turkey feathers=strength? Or were they put on at random with no specific meaning? Does it depend on the tribe or region? Very curious to know.
    "The education of a man is never completed until he dies." Robert E. Lee

  • #2
    First off you have to remember, talking about The America’s is like talking about Europe. There’s not one type of Native American just like there’s not one type of European, or Asian,e.t.c. And each peoples had/have their own spiritual beliefs. And just like in other parts of the world, things changed with time. I’ve read among the Algonquin ( most of the north eastern Indians) stock of people’s that “ war paint” was used during the historic period and probably well before, to terrorize your opponents and to mask ones true face from their enemies spirit so those they’ve killed in battle couldn’t recognize them and haunt them after in this world or the next. As far as feathers, birds are very symbolic creatures as they connect 2 worlds. And each species has its own unique qualities and merits,as they truly do. By wearing certain animals parts and making them your own, you’d inherit some of the qualities or “powers” of the animal worn. Some were worn for power, some for decoration, and some as symbols, like a necklace of bear claws, cause it showed bravery and that you were a good hunter. Think what it took back in the day to take out a grizzly or cougar with primitive tools!
    call me Jay, i live in R.I.

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    • #3
      Btw,very little of what you see on T.V. regarding N.A.’s is accurate, almost certainly nothing but documentaries if made before the 90’s I’d say.
      call me Jay, i live in R.I.

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      • #4
        I hate to rattle on but another word of note. Native peoples the world over wore/still wear body paint and not just for war.
        call me Jay, i live in R.I.

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        • #5
          Thank you for the info! I had a suspicion they didn't apply such decorations at random.
          "The education of a man is never completed until he dies." Robert E. Lee

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          • #6
            Jay is absolutely right about what is portrayed on TV regarding NA's...
            The chase is better than the catch...
            From the flatlands of N'Eastern Illinois...

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