When participating in traditional dances and ceremonies, the clothing worn is as important as the movement of the performers. Native American regalia are central to the performance. Individual elements of the outfit portray singular and combined meaning.
Ceremonial outfits represent the identity of the performer. The outfit reflects tribal association and individual personality. Symbols on the outfits depict memories and experiences. Every element has meaning, from the design to the color of the beading used to decorate the outfit.
Symbols on the outfits are a type of communication. Each has a unique meaning and is understood by other tribe members. This form of nonverbal language was critical to leaders who needed a way to indicate their position of power.
Native American outfits are a form of expression. They reflect the lives of the dancers and performers who wear them. As visual representations of emotions and interests, clothing and adornments mirror beliefs. As performers grow and develop, their outfits also change to depict the transformation.
Traditions are tied closely with clothing and adornments. Significant time is dedicated to designing the outfits, including adding beads and other symbols such as eagle feathers. Individuals take great care of their ceremonial outfits which can be passed on to future generations of the performers.
Even shoes worn by performers convey a message. The type of shoe worn has specific meaning that adds to the story being performed. When a group of performers wear the same type of clothing, the message may be different than if only one performer wears it. This is a way to expand upon the language of the clothing.
Significance of Native American regalia is steeped in more than tradition. Outfits are a means of communication, representing an unspoken language. Each piece is a living biography of the performer. When used in traditional dances, they provide an added layer to the storytelling. Native American Regalia
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