Our ancestors once made and wore these beautifully ornate beaded hoods. Made of wool broadcloth, they were lined with silk or cotton in a variety of patterns. They were always expertly crafted with three panels, but the infill design varied. We folded and stitched a long rectangular strip along the top and back. A tassel decorated the hood’s pointy peak. While examples from the 1850s to the 1870s were beaded in floral patterns, the beaded geometric design of this example shows it is a rare early creation, made about 1840.
According to my mother, there was an elderly lady who made these hoods for members of the community. When one was completed, it was never brought indoors. This was done out of respect for the one who made them. My mother said that her grandmother wore them while travelling. Even when she was old, she still walked everywhere when on a journey. When they arrived to where the camp was being made, she would walk to a small tree to hang her hood on it. It was only when they left camp again that she would wear it. But the beads used to make it were readily available. Other supplies used to make these hoods were things used in hunting campsites. The fabric they used was called kapui. She said it was the best fabric for use and it was sort of like a blanket material, which they fashioned into a pointy hat.
– Lily Pepabano, Chisasibi