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The Seminole Indians
Native Clothing and Housing

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Introduction | How They Came to Be | Religious Beliefs | Native Clothing and Housing | Green Corn Ceremony | Death and Burial Ritual | Conclusion

Native Clothing and Housing.

         In addition to their customary beliefs, Southeastern Indians were known to wear clothing made of leather. The loin cloth was the normal dress for men. In the winter they added leggings made of deerskin for warmth and protection and fur robes made out of either bearskin, rabbit, marten (a weasel-like mammal), and wildcat. Women wore leather, apron-like skirts that hung down to their knees while in the winter they wore longer skirts, and just like the men, they added leggings and fur robes. Children usually did not wear any clothing and most Indians did not wear anything on their feet except in travel or for cold weather. When it was needed, they sported deerskin or bearskin moccasins. They also used a wide assortment of feathers for ornamental purposes. These feathers gave a sign of social prominence to whoever wore them. Capes made out of feathers also pertained to people of high status. Turkey feathers were most common among the tribes but eagle feathers were the most popular and sought-after feathers. The Seminole people used leather bags to store tobacco, pipes, and other possessions. Both, women and men wore earrings and necklaces made out of shells, bones, pearls, and bear claws (The Seminole 26-28).

         Like in American culture, the Seminoles have also changed their styles throughout the years. Though Indians are usually associated with "teepees", their dwellings were actually quite different in prehistoric times. In fact, they lived in nice log cabins with a "smoke-hole" that served as a chimney (Floridas Seminole Indians 65). As time passed, the Seminoles began to build huts called chickees. These huts were made out of poles cut from minor trees including a roof constructed out of palmetto palm fronds (The Unconquered Seminole Indians 57). In addition, Seminole clothing has also changed. Designs became more intricate while styles became more simple and silk and nylon were the new materials being used. Most of the young men now wear a vividly colored blouse sewn by the women and a kerchief around their neck (The Unconquered Seminole Indians 64). Seminole girls were given glass beads right when they turned twelve. On their birthdays, additional strings were added "for acts of virtue, or given as gifts in good times until her neck, up to her chin, is buried deep beneath many stands." After her mid-life, the strings were removed one by one until the first one is the only string left. The last string is finally taken to the grave with its wearer (The Unconquered Seminole Indians 69).

Pictures

A Seminole Chickee Hut
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Seminole Woman with Beads
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Patchwork
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Clothing
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