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Week 2: Feathered headdress

What is this? What was it used for?

Who would have used it? When do you think it was made?

How is it connected to the Puyallup Fair?

War Bonnet

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What is this?

This is a feathered headdress, or war bonnet from the Nez Perce tribe of Eastern Washington. This type of headdress is called a halo bonnet. Today bonnets are very important in ceremonies and powwows. It has a beaded band and fabric cap to which eagle feathers, down and other bird feathers are sewn and attached. They were made originally in the late 1800's and early 1900's. They are also still made today.

What was it used for?

War bonnets are feathered headgear traditionally worn by male leaders of the American Plains Indian Nations who earned a place of great respect in their tribe. Originally they were sometimes worn into battle, but they are now primarily used for ceremonial occasions. They are seen as items of great spiritual and political importance, only to be worn by those who have earned the right and honor through formal recognition. These were not only worn by chiefs but by those who earned the right to wear them.

Who would have used it?

Native American men who have earned respect, displayed courage, and represented their people through their words and deeds in an honorable way.

This particular headdress has a local story.

During the early years of the Western Washington Fair, Native American leaders lived in tepees during the Fair, riding in horse races, performing dances and telling stories of early Indian history in the Northwest. In 1925, 50 Umatilla, Yakima, and Nez Perce were represented at the Fair. By 1929 even more. A Chief of the Nez Perce nation, nephew to Chief Joseph became good friends with W.A.Linklater, the general manager of the Fair. Mr. Linklater became an honorary member of the Nez Perce tribe and was given this headdress by Chief Peo Peo Talek. W. A. Linklater later gave the headdress to Karshner Museum.