Clothing

A Yokuts boy and girl

A Yokuts boy and girl

The Yokuts dressed in very simple clothes. Young children wore nothing at all except in the cold winter months. Then they would put on simple clothes made from rabbit and other animal skins. The women and older girls wore short skirts made out of the hides of deer, antelope, and rabbits. They also wove skirts from nettle, hemp, and milkweed fiber. Sometimes the women wove beads into their skirts or put long feathers around them.

The men wore a breechcloth made from soft deerskin. They tied it around their waist and folded it over in front of them. Each breechcloth was about four feet long. The men painted it with designs that were symbols of the tribe or family.

Both men and women wore narrow headbands to hold their hair away from their faces. The headbands were decorated with seeds and feathers. Necklaces, earrings, and armbands were made of seeds and feathers, too.

In the winter, all the Yokuts wore fur blankets around their shoulders. They used the skins of mountain lions, deer, rabbits, and wild cats to make these warm blankets. Sometimes they made blankets out of feathers from swans, geese, pelicans, and ducks. They only wore these feather blankets when it was pouring down rain. The blankets were held together with a pointed stick or a long feather from a goose, pelican, or swan. They never used a feather from an eagle or a condor because these birds were sacred to them.

The Yokuts went barefoot most of the time. They did not need shoes because they lived in grassy areas and it was only cold in the winter. During very cold weather, they wrapped animal skins around their feet to keep them warm.

–Adapted from research by Mary Ann Brensel