The French and Indian War or Mid-18th century Abenaki clothing is very different than what one would imagine. They wore very little leather with the exception of moccasins, shot bag, a knife sheath and possibly leggings. There were few indigenous textiles in use with the exception of twined plant fiber bags made from milk weed.
White linen French style shirts and chemises were commonplace. Abenaki crafts people usually fashioned clothing from red and blue wool. Wool hoods, wrap skirts, leggings and breech cloths were decorated with silk ribbon. Abenaki’s wore match coats (blankets) to keep warm. Finger woven sashes (belts) and leg ties (garters) were made from yarn.
Ornamentation’s were an important addition to clothing. The Abenaki wore silver or brass nose rings and ear ornaments. European trade goods were strung into everyday wear. European glass wampum beads were strung and worn much as costume jewelry is worn today. They also wore European trade silver pieces such as nose rings, arm bands, wrist bands and earrings. With so many new items available, Abenaki men still wore white shell “moons” at the breast.
18th Century European influences of dress and attire on the Abenaki women inspired them to weave hoods to imitate the French women colonists. This practice was commonly used when an Abenaki women came of age.
Horatio Colony House Museum & Nature Preserve; exhibit and oral history hosted by museum director Anita Weldon.
“Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage Exhibit” co-curated by Vera Longtoe Sheehan and Eloise Bell, presented in partnership with the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.