Gazing upon these dresses of hide and canvas, ornamented by glass beads and quills and elk teeth, a story comes to life. Indian dresses are more than just an article of clothing; they’re a mode for expressing culture and identity.
Many were made to honor warriors or for use in ceremonial dances or as talismans. The past 200 years of women’s clothing and design from the Plains, Plateau and Great Basin regions of the U.S. and Canada are examined here with incredible insight into tribal traditions. More specifically, three popular dress designs are covered: the side-fold, two-hide and three-hide dresses. The best part is the book does more than pay homage to the past; it shows how the stories continue, through the work of modern-day dress makers. Any collector of Indian culture should shelve this book among their reference materials. —Meghan Saar