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Monday, October 15, 2012

What did Pompy wear?

What sort of ihoisi  (clothing) did Pompy, the son of Sacagawea, wear? 

Boys usually wore breech cloths (also called breech clouts, flaps or loin cloths ) with or without leather leggings and buckskin shirts. 


 Styles differed from tribe to tribe. In the Hidatsa tribe the breechcloth was a long rectangular piece of tanned deerskin or cloth worn between the legs and tucked over a belt so that the flaps fell down in front and behind. The cloth winds over the belt, under it, and over it again.Some people think that the Native Americans were naked under the flap, but if they lifted the flap, they would see the breechcloth.

Women and girls also wore breechcloths under their skirts. Sometimes girls wore only breechcloths just like boys until they were old enough for skirts and dresses.

Here is a picture of a buckskin shirt decorated with porcupine quills. Can you imagine the skill it took to make such a beautiful garment?

In warm weather Pompy would have gone barefoot. But in cold weather he would have worn moccasins. The Hidatsa/Mandan tribes are known for their excellent craftsmanship in using porcupine quills to decorate their clothing. Because Pompy was the only child of Sacagawea for several years, I like to imagine that she had the time to lovingly make beautiful clothes for her little son.

Source: Minneapolis Institute of Art
Pompy probably wore his hair in two long braids. The Hidatsa only cut their hair when in mourning.  For special occasions and ceremonies they sometimes wore it loose. They painted their faces for these occasions as well.