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What are the characteristics of traditional Iroquois clothing?

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Quick Answer

Traditional Iroquois clothing is made from woven natural fibers, tanned elk and deer hides and fur from woodland animals, such as rabbits and bears. The traditional Iroquois embellish their clothing with wooden beads, feathers and porcupine quills, often arranging them in ways that represent the specific clan to which they belong. The term "Iroquois" comes from French settlers; the Iroquois refer to themselves as the Haudenosaunee, which means "the people of the long house."

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Full Answer

Iroquois women's traditional clothing consists of skirts, which are paired with tunics or poncho-type shirts and dresses. Under their clothes, traditional Iroquois women often wear leggings that are cut just above the knees.

Iroquois men's traditional clothing consists of leggings and a breech cloth, which is a rectangular piece of cloth worn between the legs and secured around the waist with a belt. Iroquois children also wear breech cloths, as well as tunics. On special occasions, the men wear apron-like coverings, which are usually embroidered and decorated with bead designs. The men also wear a gustoweh, a headpiece that is decorated with beads and feathers in a way that signifies to which Iroquois nation they belong. The Iroquois consist of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas.

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