Wampanoag women wore knee-length skirts. Wampanoag men wore breechcloths with leggings. Neither women nor men had to wear shirts in the Wampanoag culture, but they would dress in deerskin mantles during cool weather. The Wampanoags also wore moccasins on their feet.
Facts: The Wampanoag tribe did not commonly wear large, feathery headdresses (or war bonnets) as commonly shown in commercial photos. Instead, women and men of the tribe might have worn a single feather in their hair. Wampanoag tribe members wore clothing made from the skins of deer and rabbit.
The Native American women generally wore skirts and leggings. Often they wore shirts or tunics as well. In some tribes, like the Cherokee and the Apache, the women wore longer buckskin dresses.
The food that the Wampanoag tribe ate included crops they raised consisting of the “three sisters” crops of corn, beans and squash together with Jerusalem artichoke, pumpkin, and zucchini. Meat included deer (venison), black bear, rabbit, grouse, squirrel, duck, geese, muskrat, beaver, otter, raccoon and turkey.
Today there are about four to five thousand Wampanoag. Most live in Massachusetts where there are two federally acknowledged tribes, the Aquinnah Wampanoag and the Mashpee Wampanoag, as well as several smaller bands in areas like Herring Pond, Assonet, and Manomet.
If you’d like to learn to say a Wampanoag word, Wuneekeesuq (pronounced similar to wuh-nee-kee-suck) is a friendly greeting that means “Good day!” You can also see a Wampanoag picture dictionary here. What was the Wampanoag culture like in the past?
From 1615 to 1619, the Wampanoag suffered an epidemic, long suspected to be smallpox. Modern research, however, has suggested that it may have been leptospirosis, a bacterial infection which can develop into Weil’s syndrome. It caused a high fatality rate and decimated the Wampanoag population.
The Wampanoag are one of many Nations of people all over North America who were here long before any Europeans arrived, and have survived until today. Many people use the word “Indian” to describe us, but we prefer to be called Native People. Today, about 4,000-5,000 Wampanoag live in New England.
Arts and crafts were important in Wampanoag cultural life. Their basket weaving, wood carving, and beadwork became famous. Crafting wampum (white and purple shell beads) were Wampanoag artists’ specialty. Wampum beads were traded as a form currency and an art material.
Before the Ojibwa began to trade with Europeans and Americans, they wore clothing made from animal hides, primarily from tanned deerskin. The women wore deerskin dresses, leggings, moccasins, and petticoats made of woven nettle or thistle fibers. The men wore leggings, breechcloths, and moccasins.
All First Nations across the country, with the exception of the Pacific Coast, made their clothing—usually tunics, leggings and moccasins —of tanned animal skin. Woodland and northern First Nations used moose, deer or caribou skin.
Anasazi Clothing Female Anasazi wove blankets, robes, kilts, shirts, aprons, belts (etc.). They wove the clothes by animal hair and human hair. They also wove thick robes for winter. Anasazi footwear included sandals, moccasins, and possibly snowshoes for winter.
Indians spoke a dialect of the Algonquin language. A few spoke some English even before the Pilgrims landed at Plimoth in 1620. They learned from the English fishermen who fished for cod. Samoset was an Indian who said “Welcome, Englishmen,” much to the surprise of Miles Standish and William Bradford.
Aquinnah Wampanoag own 485 acres of land and are governed by an elected tribal council; the council also has a traditional chief and a medicine man as members. They maintain traditional governing roles by electing a sachem, a medicine man, clan matriarchs, and an elder council.
There was probably a thick porridge or bread made from Indian corn and some kind of meat, fowl or fish. Supper was a smaller meal, often just leftovers from dinner. The Plymouth colonists thought a lot about food.