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Braids, Beads and Buckskins

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Allen Braford was born lightyears from the nearest reservation.

The Stock Costume Traits for Native Americans portrayed in the pre-modern age and, all too often, modern days. Typical traits of the uniform include:

  • Long hair on both sexes, either free-flowing or in a single, thick braid. Alternately, mohawks.
  • Feathers stuck in the hair as ornaments, or an elaborate feather headdress.
  • Leather tunics or vests worn over a bare chest for men, with leather pants often lined with fringe. Women often wear a single-piece leather slip, leaving their legs bare.
  • Soft leather moccasins for footwear, or simply barefoot.
  • Bead jewelry on both sexes.
  • Face or body paint.

While aspects of these outfits are Truth in Television for some tribes, some of the time,note  North America is a big place, with a great deal of variation between Native cultures. Plus these aspects are occasionally applied to Native cultures outside of the US, leading to confusion as to why indigenous people in Peru are wearing buckskin. But since most writers can't be bothered with research, the common portrayal fails to capture this wide variety. Many tribes' traditional outfits look nothing like the stereotype.

Another form of this is when Native American tribes are shown doing things and using stuff that belongs to a myriad of different tribes — an example of this being Disney's Peter Pan film, which juxtaposes tipis (Great Plains tribes) and totem poles (Pacific Northwest coastal tribes). To a more learned viewer, this is as jarring and inaccurate as portraying Vikings with Grecian temples.

The cover of just about any Romance Novel featuring frontier-types will conveniently feature long, flowing hair with beads and fringed leather jerkins bare at the breast.

Stereotypical characters who wear this outfit include the Magical Native American and The Savage Indian. Compare Culture Equals Costume. Related to Hollywood Natives and Tonto Talk.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept., Rokkusu District has a possibly more accurate version of this. It seems to be based on southwestern North America. Long hair on men is standard, and the officials wear a cloak that looks like a textile from that region, plus beaded necklaces and feathers. No buckskins.
  • Bora and his son Upa in Dragon Ball, and by implication the rest of their tribe, have the dress sense, as well as the technology and the spiritual yet tough worldview, of the "noble savage" archetype. They also live in tipis and protect Karin's Tower, which resembles a giant totem pole.
  • Tatanka from Eyeshield 21 sports war paint whenever he's on the field. He also wears his long hair in a braid.
  • Allen Bradford from The Five Star Stories, which is strange because despite looking like a Native American, he comes from another planet A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away....
  • Ao in Freedom Project, though she swaps the buckskins for a pair of Daisy Dukes.
  • An egregious example of this has the (Japanese) cast of Gigantor visit Australia, where they meet Aboriginals... who ride horses, say "How," and wear Braids, Beads and Buckskins.
  • Senri and the rest of the Kim-un-kur of +Anima.
  • The Patch tribe in Shaman King. Possibly justified in that they seem to play to the trope to disguise their status as the keepers of the Great Spirit. See: the Authentic Patch Hand-Crafted [insert noun here].
  • In ∀ Gundam, Joseph Yaht wears a Mayincatec variant as his civilian outfit (replace "beads" with "medallions") since he's from Adeska, which is a generic Central American civilization revived in the far future.

    Comic Books 
  • Played straight with The Adventures Of Olivia with Penny though less emphasis is on her race as her sexual skill in bagging a blonde doctor and a Hot Witch.
  • Also justified by Shaman and Yukon Jack of Marvel Comics' Alpha Flight. Shaman, Michael Twoyoungmen, is an actual First Nations shaman; it's kind of important for him to stay close to his roots. Yukon Jack is from a tribe that has had zero contact with the outside world in centuries, so it's no wonder that he still mostly just wears a loincloth.
  • Marvel also has Jason Strongbow, a.k.a. American Eagle. Early versions show this character wearing a massive feathered headdress and a costume with a Captain America-esque red, white, and blue coloring. More recent versions have tuned this down, mostly showing him in a black leather jacket, jeans, and either a black hat or motorcycle helmet. He still has long hair, though.
  • Firestorm (DC Comics) villains Black Bison and Silver Deer both fit this stereotype.
    • When his great-grandfather was slain by muggers, John Ravenhair found himself possessed by the old man’s spirit, which granted him super-powers. As a result, he set forth to avenge the white man’s many injustices against his people. As Black Bison, he wears a bison headdress, leather leggings and breechclout, and moccasins. He carries a coup stick he uses to direct his powers, and a tribal shield.
    • Silver Deer is a trained sorceress, martial artist and terrorist seeking to avenge the deaths of her father and brother at the hands of bigoted whites. Her costume is a white doeskin vest with feathers down one sleeve, an Indian headband, a breechclout over trunks, and...fishnets? Her powers include the stereotypical ability to shapeshift into any animal, and the ability to telekinetically influence games of chance) (which various commentators have pointed has Unfortunate Implications in linking her to native American casinos).
  • Dawnstar of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes lives in the 30th century on another planet, but wears a fringed buckskin dress and boots anyhow. Justified by her planet having been colonized by 13th Century Native Americans (It Makes Sense in Context.)
  • Most if not all Indian tribes in Lucky Luke follow the same pattern: ugly totem poles, loincloths, adjective-animal names, teepees and raindancing shamans. Of course, it was never meant to be taken seriously. Though there is the occasional subversion, like when a traveller tries to pull off the "shiny glass beads for trade" trick, the chieftain merely says "the paleface is thinking of the wrong continent".
  • Eagle Free, the Noble Savage best friend of the protagonist in Prez, complete with feather headdress.
  • Tom Fireheart, aka Puma, belongs to an unidentified and fairly nondescript tribe in New Mexico, which he serves as its were-puma warrior, hence his name. He wears his hair cropped, but is often seen wearing Native American jewelry. Other times, he dresses in suits as befits his other role as CEO of Fireheart Enterprises. Tom is morally ambiguous and swings from anti-hero to mercenary to anti-villain depending on the day of the week.
  • The ratskins of The Redeemer are 40K Native Americans wearing the skins of giant rats.
  • Little Sure Shot of Sgt. Rock's Easy Company, in the sense that he has a few feathers tied to his helmet. Hey — he earned 'em, he's gonna wear 'em.
  • X-Men:
    • Danielle Moonstar fits the trope well, but there's some justification. She's from the Cheyenne tribe, which actually did wear that style of clothes. Considering she grew up on a reservation, her fashion choice is not that unusual.
    • Forge is a Native American, albeit one who largely rejected his heritage and shaman training. Like Dani, he's Cheyenne. His costume still bears some Braids, Beads and Buckskins influences, including fringed boots (and sometimes a fringed vest) as well as long hair and a headband.
    • Proving that X-Men writers are aware of at least two Native American tribes, there's the Apache brothers Thunderbird and Warpath. Thunderbird's costume had Braids, Beads and Buckskins influences: fringed boots and fringes at the shoulders, and a headband with a pair of feathers. Warpath's original costume was much the same, but his later costumes have discarded those elements.

    Fan Works 
  • Averted In the Emergency! fic "Eye of the Beholder" and others in the series. Chet Kelly makes a crack about John Gage's fiance not wearing buckskins when John shows the guys her picture, and John replies that he and she have them but they're only for special occasions. John does wear his for his naming ceremony in the previous fic, "Return," but is rather embarrassed with how he looks, especially when Roy takes a picture. They also show up during the native wedding ceremony in "Christmas in Lame Deer."
  • Return of the Primarchs has the Eleventh Legion and their Primarch be based generally on Native American theming, with their Primarch being an expy of Chief Thunder.
  • Played for cringe in The Wedding Crashers, when it’s made painfully obvious that the dresses chosen for the Quiluete women attending Renesmee’s wedding were intended to be more “tribal” in nature, as opposed to the fancier gowns worn by the vampires, with the Winchesters noting that they’re far from flattering.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Avatar: Despite not being humans and living on a planet far from Earth, the Na'vi wear plenty of this sort of clothing.
  • Parodied in Cannibal! The Musical. A tribe of Native Americans is actually a group of Japanese people in disguise. When questioned about their race by dubious white travelers, the chief points out the tribe's stereotypical dress and teepees as proof of their ethnicity.
  • In The Charge at Feather River, Jennie McKeever, a white woman gone native, is dressed in a figure-hugging beaded and fringed buckskin dress, moccasins, and a beaded headband, and has her long hair in two heavy braids.
  • Cathy Smith and Larry Belitz went all out to give Dances with Wolves as much accuracy as possible in dress and decoration, weapons, utensils, tipis and the all-important sacred paint (with the exception of Mary McDonnell as Stands-With-a-Fist, who despite being raised by the Sioux from childhood, sports a very 1980s layered haircut, in notable contrast to all the Sioux actresses who have much more period-typical long hair).
  • The Truth in Television aspect of this trope is demonstrated in 1920 film The Daughter of Dawn, in which an entirely Native American cast (Comanche and Kiowa), who provided their own costumes, are dressed in this way.
  • Played straight in The Dead Lands where all of the Maori wore grass skirts, animal pelts and braided hair.
  • Fargo and Insomnia (the Hollywood remake) had respectively a mechanic and a police constable with long, braided hair (urban, modern Native people mostly don't, as it would get in the way).
  • Iron Will: The Native American Carey brothers are long-haired men who wear buckskin jackets. One of them also has some beads or other embroidery on his jacket.
  • Notably avoided in Last of the Mohicans, but played straight where appropriate. The tribes mostly wear homespun, just like the white settlers, but the warriors wear fringed leather leggings. Head-dress and facepaint are period-accurate: only the Mohawks wear mohawks, etc.
  • In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chief Bromden had long, free-flowing hair.
  • In Six Gun Savior, Native American warrior Muna wears an abbreviated beaded buckskin dress that leaves one shoulder bare, and has her hair in braids.
  • If you want to see films showing how Indian people dress and live today, watch Smoke Signals or anything else by Sherman Alexie. For modern Lakhota, watch Thunderheart. There is an excellent list of Native-made films here. To see traditional and modern dress, go to a pow-wow. You can see the differences and similarities between different tribes. There are several documentaries about pow-wows showing everyday attire along with the regalia worn for the dances.
  • Played entirely straight in the Shirley Temple film Susannah of the Mounties, along with numerous other Indian clichés.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in Transamerica. Toby asks Calvin Manygoats why a Native guy wears a cowboy hat. Calvin points out that it keeps the sun out of his eyes better than a headband and two eagle feathers.
  • Seen in a flashback in the Twilight movie. The La Push natives wear bone jewelery and skirts while hunting in the 1930's. In the sequel, Jacob gets his long hair cropped, as he does in the book.

  • Used, averted and subverted in the novels, poetry, and films of Sherman Alexie (particularly with Thomas Builds-the-Fire's eccentric outfit in Smoke Signals). The film The Business of Fancy Dancing is more realistic in its depiction of an actual reservation, though. Sherman Alexie is a Native American writer, poet, and comedian of Spokane/Coeur d'Alene heritage, who grew up on the Spokane Reservation. Much of his work plays with both the reality and stereotypes of Native Americans and reservation life and culture.
    "You have to look mean, like you just came back from a buffalo hunt." "But our people were fishermen!" Priceless.
  • Subverted and played straight in the Christopher Moore book Coyote Blue. The protagonist, Sam Hunter (formerly Samson-Hunts-Alone) is an extremely erudite, urbane city-dwelling Native American who had to leave the reservation after some unpleasantness involving a local BIA officer. His family is a fairly traditional Native family, who still follow the traditions of the Crow people, but have followed modern trends as well, whereas his uncle, Pokey-Medicine-Wing, is a full-blown buckskins-and-beads Medicine Man with a constant, albeit minor, grudge against the white man, a fact that he peppers his stories with. Coyote himself makes a few appearances in buckskins and beads, but for all his activity, seems to do so out of a combination of irony and the fact that he's the Trickster God and happens to enjoy looking a little off.
  • Downplayed in The Dresden Files. Joseph Listens-To-Wind uses a fair number of Native American trappings and fetishes in working his magic, wears his hair in a braid, and will on occasion wear an embroidered buckskin shirt. However, Listens-To-Wind was his tribe's medicine man long before Europeans settled around the Great Lakes, and by the time of the novels he has adapted to "white man's ways" as well as most modern Native Americans. For example, he is far more likely to wear jeans and sneakers with his buckskin shirt than leggings and moccasins.
  • In the Gods Of Manhattan series, the Munsees are all spirits of their historical counterparts, and thus still dress the way they did back when they still roamed the area that became New York.
  • In one of The Hardy Boys novels, the characters visit an Indian reservation and so one of them wears a feathered headdress, looking nothing like the people who live there who are just dressed in ordinary Western clothes.
  • Piper McLean in The Heroes of Olympus is a half-Cherokee girl who wears her hair in braids, often accessorizing the braids with feathers. Otherwise averted; she dresses like a typical 21st-century high school girl.
  • In the Kate Shugak novels, Kate and other Native Alaskan characters occasionally run into ignorant tourists who expect them to conform to Plains Indian stereotypes. It doesn't end well for the tourists.
  • Averted in Love Medicine, where the only member of the tribe that does adhere the dress code, Moses Pillager, is shunned by the rest of the tribe.
  • The 1667 English epic Paradise Lost compares the fallen Adam and Eve's mad attempts to cover their newly-found nudity to how "Columbus / found th' American so girt / With featherd Cincture, naked else and wilde."
  • The "redskins" (Native...somethings, we can go with Americans) from Peter Pan wear feathers in their hair, say "How", and well...any racist stereotype of Native Americans you can think of. As cringey as the depiction may be to modern readers, it may actually be justified In-Universe, as Neverland is the world of imagination. Neverland's "Red Indians" are the kind imagined by small children who like stories about Injun Country, complete with a Pocahontas-esque Indian Maiden named Princess Tiger Lily. Not to mention that the source material was written in England during The Edwardian Era, so some Values Dissonance is to be expected.
  • Subverted in Pigs in Heaven: When a white character tells a Cherokee woman that she wears nice handmade moccasins, she replies she bought them from a hippie store in Denver, since everyone in her part of Oklahoma actually wears boots.
  • Played for laughs in the Robert Ludlum novel The Road to Omaha. Semi-crazy General Hawkins brings a lawsuit to the Supreme Court on how the U.S. government stole basically the entire state of Nebraska from an obscure Indian tribe. Hawkins goes all in, even taking on the name of Chief Thunder Head and acting "in tradition." That includes having the others of the Tribe go around almost naked all the time, including before reporters. Charlie Sunset, a young member of the tribe, tears into Hawkins on how "no one in our history has ever dressed like this!" but Hawkins insists on continuing.
  • In the children's book The Shaman's Last Raid a modern Apache Indian dressed like this, complete with feather war bonnet, to the extreme annoyance of his grandfather, the Shaman of the title.
  • Lula in Someone Else's War, which is particularly odd because she's not Native American, but East African.
  • Averted with Lampshade Hanging in The True Meaning of Smekday: When eleven-year-old Tip meets an Indian, she notes in her narration that he was dressed normally, "no buckskin or beads or anything", and then immediately apologises for having felt that it needed to be mentioned.
  • Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch: Largely averted, as the narration recognizes the differences between various indigenous tribes and their customs. For example, a group of natives are identified as being Kiowa due to the fact that they are carrying medicine shields.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Averted in Emergency!. Gage wears his uniform or civilian clothes and that's it.
  • Exploited in Rutherford Falls. Native American Casino owner Terry Thomas has a closet of stereotypical Native American accessories in his office (including beadwork, feathers, metal jewelry, and others). He puts some of them on when preparing to meet with a group of white lawyers in order to make them feel guilty and jealous.
  • Tonto in The Lone Ranger is a very restrained example wearing a buckskin jacket and trousers rather than breech-clout and leggings and a minumum of beading and fringing. As played by Jay Silverheels (Six Nations of the Grand River (Mohawk)), Tonto was described as a Comanche, who do wear fringed buckskin jackets (often with long fringe for formal occasions), but strip down to loincloths for action.
  • Reservation Dogs: This is the outfit of William Knifeman, Bear's spirit guide who died at the Battle of Little Bighorn. He points out that since it's pretty cold in the spirit world, his nipples are always hard.
  • The people in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Paradise Syndrome" were supposed to be a mixture of Delaware (Lenape), Mohican and Navajo. The longhouse-type lodge is consistent with Eastern civilizations, but next to it is a Plains-type tipi rather than a Navajo hogan. In fact, there's almost nothing Navajo about any of it. Feathered cloaks are Aztec, not Native North American. Miramanee and several other characters are wearing headbands and belts — traditional for Eastern tribes — but they're woven of glass seed beads, which were a European trade item. (Never mind the fact that they're strung on elastic thread.)
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Rather than give Chakotay an actual Native American tribe, the writers just made one up and presented a bunch of cliches to go with it. Then due to Robert Beltran's Mesoamerican heritage, they moved this fictional tribe down to Central America. So we have a tribe in the jungle who worship sky spirits (despite only glimpsing the sky), have vision quests (sweat lodges in the jungle?), medicine wheels and medicine bundles, and ancestor worship (more of an Asian practice) and facial tattoos that look more Maori than Native American. It didn't help that Jamake Highwater, their consultant on Native American culture, turned out to be a fraud.
  • Downplayed on Twin Peaks with Deputy Hawk. He has long hair and is often wearing earrings (although it's worth noting that his actor, Michael Horse, was a jeweler before he got into TV), but is usually seen wearing the same uniform as the other deputies in town. On the rare occasion we see him in civilian wear, he does seem to favour Native patterns, but nothing too ostentatious.

  • Anybody Killa's image is heavily based around this.
  • So is Litefoot. He is Tsalagi and very particular about his image.
  • Tim McGraw's song "Indian Outlaw" mentions several tribes, and then describes practices and accoutrements that don't belong to any of them.
  • T-ara's MV for "Yayaya" has the girls dressed in this fashion, for obvious reasons.
  • Neil Young wore buckskins, seedbead ornaments, and bone hairpipe choker necklaces while in Buffalo Springfield.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Chief Horse's Neck's tribe in Rick O'Shay all dress in the stereotypical manners, with varying amounts of lampshading.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Largely downplayed with Chief Thunderbird, mostly limited too he a feathered headdress he wore as entrance attire.
  • Chief War Cloud and Princess Little Cloud in the original NWA Hollywood and Championship Wrestling From Florida, though Little Cloud and the second War Cloud were part of a tribe in Mexico.
  • WWE Hall of Famer Chief Jay Strongbow, billed from Pawhuska, Oklahoma with a Native American in-ring persona with the majority of his career occurring from 1947 to 1985, was actually born Joseph Luke Scarpa, an Italian-American from Philadelphia, PA. He would privately joke that he was from the "Whopaho" tribe, wearing an Indian chief's war bonnet headdress to the ring and using such Native American themed moves as the Indian deathlock, the overhead tomahawk chop, and the sleeper hold.
  • Chief Wahoo McDaniel, a Chickasaw-Choctaw from Louisiana who attended the University of Oklahoma, played pro football in the AFL from 1960-1968, later found success as a wrestler, competing until 1996, wearing a chief's warbonnet headdress to the ring.
  • Initially averted by Cometa Azules III, who initially dressed the same way as Cometa Azules I and II, as they trained him for a short term run. After meeting lucha libre legend El Santo, he decided to undergo further training in the Blue Demon's school and was nicknamed "Apache" after he was seen without his mask. Gran Apache decided to make it his gimmick, although still downplayed as he was determined to show people how Apache really dressed, with no interest in playing "cowboys and Indians".
  • Tatanka (Chris Chavis), a member of the Lumbee (North Carolina) tribe, who wrestled in the early 1990s, making his TV debut in 1992 and starting off with an undefeated streak which lasted until 1993, when Finnish wrestler Ludvig Borga snapped the streak. Tatanka had an ongoing feud with Rick Martel, who stole some of his eagle feathers to add to his wardrobe, recovering them at Survivor Series 1992. Sadly, his eagle feathers, as well as his Lumbee chief headdress which was given to him in a ceremony by Chief Jay Strongbow, Chief Wahoo McDaniel, and Lumbee tribe member Ray Littleturtle, were frequently stolen from ringside, with Irwin R. Schyster insisting he paid a gift tax on the headdress, which was desecrated and vandalized.
  • Averted by India Sioux, the one who around EMLL in the 1970s and the one in the 2000s for Toryumon Mexico both. They wore leather, tights and had fairly short non braided hair. Played straighter by the Apaches, seen around the same areas and AAA, who wear feathers, but otherwise tend to lack braids and wear semi standard lucha libre gear.
  • Averted by Navajo Warrior and his protege, Shooting Wolf, who wore animals skins. Even further averted when Shooting Wolf became Hawaiian Lion and was mostly distinguished by paint and tattoos.
  • Alere Little Feather will be quick to tell you though, that the Amerindians on her reservation are feather wearing tribes, so its not even The Gimmick for her.
  • Puerto Rican wrestler La Amazona is partial to head bands and feathers, which seem to be in Taíno style.
  • The pride of the Chickasaw Ky-ote doesn't do the beads but he does wear a buckskin or something similar. His tag team partner Chickasaw reject Kunna Keyoh usually forgoes it though.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pick a Shadowrun depiction of a street shaman. Odds are very good they'll be dressed in this way. This tends to get lampshaded a lot In-Universe as well, with some Shadowrunners blaming the media for perpetrating the stereotype that street shamans are all Magical Native Americans and have to dress accordingly.

  • In the American Girl product line, the only depiction of Native Americans is Kaya, a Nez Perce doll. Since she's set in 1764, her clothes are pretty much this trope in doll form. To American Girl's credit, they actually had a Nez Perce cultural panel that they consulted while designing the line to maximize accuracy.
  • Barbie has gone through several Native American editions. Most look like this. That doesn't prevent fans and collectors from designing more authentic outfits for her, and amazingly in 1990 Mattel put out a Tlingit Barbie. Kim Shuk's chapter in Andrew Jolivette's book Cultural Representation in Native America has a whole chapter on Native Barbie pro and con.
  • Spirit from G.I. Joe. Braids, buckskin leggings and fur-topped moccasins. Bear in mind that he is supposed to be a serving member of the US military.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed III
    • Connor Kenway (Ratohnhaké:ton), his village and some of the multiplayer characters embody this trope; understandable because of the time period and setting.
    • Also, all of the outfits worn by characters in the game are authentic Mohawk, as opposed to the mismatch of tribes expected from this trope, and Ubisoft worked closely with several native cultural consultants to make sure to avoid unfortunate stereotypes once they realized that they were all "essentially a bunch of middle-aged white guys".
  • Cernd from Baldur's Gate wears this kind of getup, judging by his portrait. Considering he's comes from Amn (Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Spain) and is supposed to represent a druid (a Nature Hero archetype originating from Celtic mythology), it... Makes no sense whatsoever. Given that Cernd was a man who left his wife and child to run off into the woods and be a druid, one suspects that he's not playing with a full deck.
  • Yaman and his village in Emerald Dragon are very clearly fantasy Native Americans, looking very stereotypical.
  • Killer Instinct's Chief Thunder had this motif in the original games, but the 2013 reboot downplayed it thanks to the developers consulting with the members of the Nez Percé tribe in order to produce a more accurate and respectful portrayal of both Thunder and his brother Eagle.
  • The Rito are given this aesthetic in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, as indicated by their braided feathers resembling hair braids, simple leather clothes, informal social hierarchy compared to other races of Hyrule (they have an elder whose domicile is no fancier than other lodgings), and preference for simpler wooden weapons such as bows and spears. It's even more obvious when Link is wearing the Snowquill armor set sold at their village, which gives off a major "northern Plains Indian in winter" vibe.
  • Magical Native American Nightwolf, from the Mortal Kombat games, dresses this way.
  • Both used and averted by the once-Vaporware game Prey (2006). The game begins on a reservation, and Tommy's grandfather wears this; Tommy comments several times that this looks ridiculous, not to mention all of the other Native Americans in the game wear normal clothing. Tommy does have long hair, but it's not braided.
  • Zig-zagged in RimWorld, where all tribespeople wear either 'tribalwear' or just trousers, which are always made from some kind of natural material, be it deerskin to alpaca wool, but you can end up making the same items from synthread (a futuristic artificial material produced by machines) and you can end up having tribespeople in your colony wearing button down shirts and parkas if you have the required technology.
  • T. Hawk, who was introduced in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. That said, other than the facepaint and feathers he's really just wearing a denim vest and jeans. Extended to the Tabletop Game, too; one of the sample characters (using Hawk's style) has this motif, too.
  • Half-Native American and half-Chinese Michelle Chang from Tekken plays this straight, with her default costume consisting of a leather vest, a beaded necklace and a headdress with feathers. Her adoptive daughter Julia has much the same costume in her first appearance but later in the series she becomes a scientist with a denim outfit and glasses, and then a luchadora.
  • Wild ARMs
    • An odd variation is that Native Filgaians Baskars in (especially the third one) is depicted this way. One of the characters in the party actually look this way, brown skin and feather on the head and all. And he's a very powerful shaman too. Not surprising, since the entire point of the game is to emulate The Wild West, guns n' horses n' all. Even if the Baskars did begin as a religious movement among the multiethnic human colonists of the planet.
    • The actual native inhabitants, the Elw, are more Our Elves Are Different with a few Native American elements.
  • The Scoia'tael elves of The Witcher deliberately invokes this trope with braids, beads and skin loincloths. Some also wear warpaint.
  • The Tauren in World of Warcraft are thinly-disguised shamanistic Native Americans. Cairne Bloodhoof, the now-dead Tauren chieftan, had braided hair, animal-skin body armor, and even a couple of ceremonial head feathers. Almost every other Tauren in the game — players included — has at least one of those. He also wields a giant freaking totem pole as a weapon.
  • Tribals are a staple of the Fallout series. Several of them, particularly some that appear in Honest Hearts, have a distinctly Native American aesthetic, but nearly all tribes are at least partially white as a result of survivors from Europe and America interbreeding with existing tribes. Some are completely white.

  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, the Cahuilla Indian death-god Muut is shown wearing tasseled buckskin pants. And no shirt.
  • Nahast: Lands of Strife contains a few minor examples, most notably on Xu're.
  • Averted and played straight with siblings Bia Baingwa and Dabai Sadee Johanson of Surprising Octeal. Bia dresses pretty dapper while Sadee dressing like this when on patrol as the hero "Kichi Coyote".
  • An early sequence in Something*Positive showed Aubrey roping her obviously-Caucasian friends into making Native American-themed pornography, which basically consisted of them (briefly) dressing like this trope and using Tonto Talk. Jhim commented that if it ever got released none of them would ever be able to enter a casino again.
  • The three tribes in 2Masters. they fit this trope to a T.

    Web Original 
  • The 1491s: The "Indian Store" sketch has the two shopkeepers attempting to invoke this, swapping out their hoodies and Starbucks cups for shirtlessness, free-flowing tresses, and beaded accessories once it's time to open for the day.

    Western Animation 
  • The Water Tribes in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Sequel Series The Legend of Korra are the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Inuit peoples, and wear furry parkas, bone necklaces, war paint, and ponytails/mohawks/warrior's wolf tails.
  • The Martians in Futurama are Space Jews of Native Americans and wear the stereotypical outfits.
  • Downplayed with Spirit from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, who wears a red headband and loincloth over his uniform, while frequently accompanied by Freedom, his spirit companion bald eagle.
  • Ruffled Feather (who spoke only gibberish voiced by Sandy Becker) and Running Board from Leonardo's Go Go Gophers. The last two members of the Gopher Indian tribe, they wore feathers and blankets in stereotypical fashion. So did Super Chief and Broken Feather of the Mattel-derived "educational" cartoon The Funny Company. Very educational.
  • John Redcorn in King of the Hill has long, flowing hair, wears a (presumably) buckskin vest, and wears several nondescript Native American accessories. Of course, he is consciously milking his heritage to get chicks.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: In the New York special, we're introduced to Jess, whose leather-bound braids and traditional disk earrings are the only indicators that she's of Native American descent. As Eagle, she wears her hair in a single braid, her earrings get feathers added to them, and her costume has beadwork and the texture of leather.
  • Paw Paw Bears are obviously a variant of The Smurfs (1981) with a mishmash of Native American cultures like the Pacific Coast nations with magic totem poles and Eastern ones like Bravepaw's mohawk. At least, they are Funny Animal characters so the producers didn't have to pretend they were trying to accurate.
  • When they appear in The Simpsons, Native Americans invariably have braided hair and hats. Except for the "Mohican" who appears in the episode The Bart of War, although, like John Redcorn below, it's implied that this is a conscious use of this trope on his part.
    "Chicks dig you when you're the last of something."
  • In South Park, the Native who Cartman briefly thought was his father had braided hair and wore a leather vest over his shirt.
  • Apache Chief of the Super Friends goes out of his way to match all Native American stereotypes, including the way he talks.
  • Averted in the Superman Theatrical Cartoons of the 1940s in "The Electric Earthquake" where the Native American villain is a well spoken Well-Intentioned Extremist Mad Scientist type who dressed in either a contemporary urban suit and tie or in laboratory gear, with only somewhat longer hair to mark his ethnic identity.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Long hair is often considered masculine among Native American cultures, especially in the Southwest, where many Native men have hair that is shoulder-length or longer. However, they're still more likely to wear jeans and a t-shirt than fiction would have you believe. Long hair has great significance to both men and women in many tribes, where only captives and people in mourning cut their hair.
  • Averted in other Native cultures. Ever since the days of George Washington, there have been various Native Americans that adopted European dress, hairstyles, and customs either by choice or by force. See the Five Civilized Tribes for the former and Native American boarding schools for the latter.
  • Some non-Native Americans take on a Native American identity, and dress this way to convince people:
    • Grey Owl, a famous Canadian nature conservationist of the 1920s and 1930s, was actually an Englishman named Archie Belaney. He moved to Canada when he was 18 to study at a university in Toronto, but soon dropped out, moved to the woods, and assumed a First Nations identity. Grey Owl once did a lecture tour of the UK dressed in traditional First Nations' garb and many Britons were not aware that their country was actually the place he was born and raised.
    • Iron Eyes Cody, the star of the famous 1970s anti-littering PSA and countless movies, was actually an Italian-American named Espera de Corti.
    • Neil Young dressed this way in Buffalo Springfield. Despite his physical appearance, and his music reflecting Native history and ideas, he says family research did not find Native ancestry. But he has played with a lot of Native musicians and he was adopted by the Muckleshoot tribe of Washington State. More recently he and Willie Nelson were invested with sacred buffalo robes by elders of the Lakotah, Ponca and Omaha nations. This is an extremely high honor, bestowed on them for their work in opposing the Keystone Pipeline. (Note lots of Native people wearing traditional clothing and jewelry in these pictures.)
    • Ward Churchill, the former professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder who controversially called those who were killed in the September 11th attacks "Little Eichmanns," dressed this way and claimed (without any evidence to back it up) to be Native American.
      • Note that he was fired from his position at the university for fabricating research about all kinds of alleged genocidal acts committed against Native Americans by the US government. (That's not to say such things never happened, only that he grossly exaggerated some of them or outright invented them.) The irony would be pretty rich if it turned out the guy claiming to be an advocate for Native Americans is really an impostor who co-opted their culture for his own gain. However, some Native activists, notably John Trudell (Santee), believed Churchill and respected his work.
    • One of the most notorious examples of a non-Indian pretending to be one and employing many of the standard "Indian" tropes was Forrest Asa Carter, author of The Education of Little Tree. The book was a complete fabrication passing itself off as autobiography. Carter was a member of the KKK and had been George Wallace's speechwriter, giving the world the "segregation now, segregation forever" speech. ''Radio Diaries'' revealed many details of Carter's life in this podcast
  • A lot of Southwestern Native Americans actually have very specific traditional dress, especially hair. Navajos wear their hair in a figure-8 bun wrapped with yarn, called a tsiyeeł (the ł is the ll from Welsh); Hopis cut their bangs (fringe) straight across and girls wore their hair up or down depending on their marital status; and Apaches, though practicing a similar religion to the Navajos, wear their hair down. Navajos also traditionally wear white puttee over the tops of their moccasins, which were always very simple and had thick, hardened leather soles. Silver and turquoise jewelry, and traditional blankets worn as cloaks, are also part of traditional dress for most Southwestern groups, since they're a sign of wealth and status.
  • The other familiar image is of an Eastern warrior with roached hair ("Mohawk") or shaved head with a scalplock.
  • Most pictures of Sequoyah, who invented the Tsalagi (Cherokee) writing system, show him in a turban. The wearing of turbans began when a group of Tsalagi men were presented to King George and his ministers thought their traditional attire too "severe" (incl. shaved head with scalplock). They had the men dress in some clothing left from a delegation from India. The men liked the turbans and adopted them. They are still worn for formal occasions.
  • The U.S. government historically refuses to acknowledge the Lumbee or Croatan Indians as a federally recognized tribe for a variety of reasons; some Lumbee believe it's partly because they don't have feathers and beads like stereotypical "Indians".
  • Averted in the case of the real-life Pocahontas, who married a white man (not John Smith), converted to Christianity, and wore European clothing.
  • At the Battle of Little Big Horn, General Custer had a group of six Native American scouts from the Crow Nation working for him. They wore US Army uniforms, but when they saw that Custer was losing the battle, they changed into Crow war clothing so that they could die as Crow warriors rather than US soldiers. Custer was angered that they were resigned to losing and relieved them of duty.
  • Number 4 on Cracked's list of "The 5 Most Absurdly Offensive Theme Weddings Ever Planned" spotlights several "Native American-themed" weddings, which of course involved no actual Native Americans, just a bunch of white Australians dressed up in Braids, Beads, and Buckskins, using feathers and tipis for decorations.


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Alternative Title(s): Hollywood Native American


Tomahawk Man

Tomahawk Man is one of the eight Robot Masters from the sixth Mega Man game. His special weapon is Silver Tomahawk, which he throws in a distance in an upwards arch. Defeating him gives Mega Man his weapon. (Gameplay done by Blue Bomber Guy 18) (

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Main / BraidsBeadsAndBuckskins

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