Native American women of the Plateau region, which encompasses parts of present-day Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and surrounding areas, have a rich cultural tradition that often found expression in their attire and personal grooming. One striking aspect of their hairstyle was the practice of wearing their hair with a middle part, usually divided into two braids. This distinctive hairstyle symbolized profound cultural values of balance and equality. The middle part represented a perfect equilibrium, both in the physical sense of parting the hair down the center and in a deeper spiritual and societal sense. It embodied the idea of harmony between individuals, tribes, and the natural world. Native American societies, particularly in the Plateau region, placed a high premium on collective well-being, cooperation, and unity, and this hairstyle was a reflection of those principles. It wasn't until later that one-sided parts, influenced by external fashion trends and colonial influences, began to gain prominence. Despite these changes, the traditional middle-parted, two-braided hairstyle remains an enduring symbol of the enduring cultural heritage and values of Native American women of the Plateau region.
Native American Women and the Importance of Braids
November 8, 2023