Some Native American Feathers

The picture above represent feathers given to warriors specifically in the Plains Native tribes. These feathers are usually earned from different forms of courageous acts displayed by the warrior in dangerous situations (mainly battle).  Feather number 1: Is a feather with a piece of horse hair tied to it, that symbolizes a warriors first coup. A Coup: is when a warrior gets close enough to touch the enemy and able to walk away without injuries. For a coup to be accounted for the act must be seen by a fellow warrior; and is one of the highest honors bestowed to a warrior. Feather number 2: Is a red colored feather a warrior gets when he has been injured in battle. Feather number 3: Is a feather with a notch cut into it symbolizing that the warrior took the scalp of his enemy. Feather number 4: Is a feather with a painted red dot symbolizing that the warrior killed an enemy. Feather number 5: Is a feather sliced diagonally at the top of the feather symbolizing that the warrior slit the throat of an enemy. Feather number 6: Is a feather with a serrated edges symbolizing a warrior that ranked up to 4 counted coups. Feather number 7: Is a feather with its upper part cut off is representing a warrior that ranked up to 5 counted coups. Feather number 8: Is a split feather to symbolize a warrior who has been injured numerous times.If a warrior receives numerous feathers that bestowed to him by his tribes council; he can create a headdress for himself. Most feathers come from a falcon or hawk, Eagle is the most sacred. Native American culture involves being one with nature. Big birds like the Hawk, Falcon, and Eagle are considered very special animals because they fly so high in the air; these birds are seen as the closest to the heavens.  

4 thoughts on “Some Native American Feathers

  1. This is a very interesting topic. Thanks for the information. Your post has made me wonder: Non-Native media often portrays the feathers with reference to male warriors. Were there female warriors? Were they bestowed feathers? Also, were feathers only granted for acts of courage during battle or were there other ways one could be recognized with such an honor? You’ve given me some great things to research for myself, thanks!

    1. Feathers can be bestowed to both female and male citizens. These in particular are only given to males because males where the only warriors. Females could receive regular falcon or raven or eagle feathers. Regular feathers represent a person’s dominate personality type ex: Raven feather usually bestowed to someone who is seen as smart. Feather bestowing is male dominate though.

  2. This is fascinating! I always assumed that the feathers had meaning but thought it was just a general meaning. I find it very interesting that the injured in battle feather is the most distinguishable from a distance. To be injured but continue to fight must be a high honor.

    1. You are right Native culture takes feathers seriously. Once a person receives a feather from the village council it must be worn with pride or displayed in their home for everyone to see. To drop or misplace a feather is seen as disrespect.

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