What Did the Chinook Indians Wear?

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Chinook men rarely wore clothing beyond a breechcloth, while the women wore bark or cedar grass skirts. They protected themselves from the rain with capes made out of tule rush, a grasslike plant in the region. During cold weather, they wore fur robes and moccasins to stay warm. Both genders wore basket hats woven from spruce roots.

The Chinook tribe was also recognizable by its face tattoos and paints, with designs varying depending on the occasion. The three most-common reasons for the Chinook to paint their faces was for war, mourning or religious ceremonies. The women had tribal tattoos and wore necklaces made out of beads. Most of the Chinook tribe wore their hair long and loose, but as European settlers pushed them out of their home territories, and contact between various Native American tribes increased, the Chinook began adopting styles and fashions from other tribes. Braids in particular were popular with women. Unlike other Northwestern Native American nations, the Chinook did not wear facial hair.

Chinook warriors wore a form of armor that protected their torsos, waists and necks. Called a clamon, this breastplate was made from hardened elk hide and cedar bark and was designed to protect the warriors from archers.