Just like the brightly colored hoops, the regalia are also very colorful and bright.  They are adorned with intricate beadwork, feathers, ribbons, bells and cloth in beautiful hues including reds, blues, greens, and yellows.  Spectators describe the dancers and their hoops as a “dazzling and ever-changing kaleidoscope” when dancing to the musician’s strong drumming beats.[1]  Regalia or fancy attire, never to be referred to as costumes, shows their rank or order within their communities.  The regalia vary depending on which tribal community they are from because with over five hundred different tribes, traditions can be very diverse.       

Iroquois' Regalia

         For the Men- In the Iroquois tribe located in the Northeast Woodlands, men’s regalia consists of several pieces of clothing.  They wear colorful calico shirts (these look like button-up dress shirts), and leggings or pants traditionally made of deerskin but now more commonly made of dark colored material decorated with beaded cuffs.  A breechcloth is worn across the waist, a woven sash with silver pins is worn over their left shoulder and across the chest, and a silver gorget is worn around the neck.  All of the beadwork is intricate and has a floral design that is characteristic of the Iroquois people and their culture.  To complete the look, one or two eagle feathers are attached to their regalia and a gastóweh or roach headdress is worn.  The gastóweh is a split feathered headdress and the roach is deer tail and porcupine hair headdress.

        For the Women- The women’s regalia in the Iroquois tribe has a unique layered look.  It consists of a floral embroidered skirt, leggings and moccasins with a calico top.  The top is usually knee-length with the calf length skirt and leggings.  The tops are decorated with silver pins and brightly colored ribbon border.  They usually have intricate beadwork that resembles lace with white beading.  Large necklaces are worn and even sometimes a cap or crown with beadwork on their heads.[2] 

[1] Johnston, 3.
[1] Center for Traditional Music and Dance. “Thunderbird American Indian Dancers.” Center for Traditional Music and Dance. Last modified 2009. Accessed October 25, 2015.


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