What Clothing Did Eastern Woodlands Tribes Wear?

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Tribes of the Eastern Woodlands in Canada wore clothing made out of warm, protective, thick materials, such as the skins and hides of mammals, birds and even fish. The clothing of the tribesmen and women living in the Eastern region of Canada varied depending on the tribe and time of year as well as factors such as availability or scarcity of certain animals and materials used to fashion garments.

Men, women and children of the Eastern Woodlands region, also called the Algonquians or First People, dressed primarily in pelts or hides. Pelts are animal skins that contain fur, while hides are simply skins with the fur removed. Before wearing skins, tribal members first put the pelts or hides through an extensive cleaning processing. Prior to donning garments, skins and hides underwent a smoking process to loosen tough fibers. Smoking materials made them softer, which allowed them to stretch and mold, transforming materials from tough products that would create very stiff and uncomfortable pieces into soft, wearable leather. The First People produced significant amounts of leather to produce clothing worn from head to toe, including headdresses and footwear. Men and women wore robes, shirts, leggings and moccasins.