What Did the Ojibwa Wear?

John Elk/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Most members of the Ojibwa tribe wore tanned deerskin clothing, though other animal hides were also used. Both men and women wore deerskin leggings and moccasins. Men wore a breechcloth, while women wore dresses with woven nettle or thistle fibers for petticoats. Geometric designs were created on the clothing by weaving in bones, feathers, dyed porcupine quills, shells and stones.

The Ojibwa not only loved decorations on their clothing, but also enjoyed decorating their bodies with jewelry made from the bones, claws or teeth of animals. Tanning hides and sewing consumed much of the Ojibwa women’s time during the winter months. Contact with Europeans gradually changed Ojibwa dress to woven textiles.

The Ojibwa Indians were semi-nomadic, following game and other sources of food as they were available. They lived in wigwams, which were easy to deconstruct and transport, giving them greater mobility. They resided in the woodlands of northeastern North America and called themselves the Anishinabe.

Once contact was established with Europeans in the 1600s, the Ojibwa traded furs and other natural resources with them and received firearms and other goods in return. The profitability of this trading led to many disputes within the tribe, eventually splintering it into several smaller groups.