Uskwe’ etra

Uskwe’ etra

Uskwe’ etra is the Wyandotte word for headdress. The following quotes about the traditional Wyandotte headdress are excerpts from a letter written by Charles Aubrey Buser. Mr. Buser was asked about traditional Wyandotte Clothing.  The full text can be found by clicking here.

“Wyandots and other Iroquoians used feathers from the wild turkey, with now and then a hawk or eagle feather.”

“Just as it was often possible to determine a tribe by the way a pot was hung over a fire, it was also possible to determine the tribe of a discarded piece of clothing. If you choose the traditional warrior headdress, use no more than one upright feather although the Wyandots sometimes had a similar, but trailing feather as well as a dozen or so small “nest” feathers. The Iroquoian headdress was called “GUS-TO-WEH”. The Mohawks used three upright feathers. The Onondagas used two. The Tuscaroras, Cayugas, Oneidas and Senecas used one. The Wyandots used one or two, usually with one upright and one trailing. The Mohawks used a cap with open sections. The Wyandots and others used a closed cap.”

On the left is Chief Billy Friend holding the headdress made for him. Tribal citizen Ronnie Burnside (middle) created this beautiful headdress and shared the meaning and symbolism of the traditional headdress. Tribal citizen and elder Ted Nesvold (right) beaded the Wyandotte Nation symbol centerpiece.  Our Chief is of the Big Turtle Clan.

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