wear the Lakota women’s dress consisted of a hide
dress made from two elk hides, leggings and moccasins.
These dresses typically had no quill or beadwork. The
yoke of dresses worn for formal occasions however were
highly decorated with rows of elk teeth and embroidery
made with quills. In latter times beadwork was often substitute
for quillwork and dentalium shells were often used. Leggings
and moccasins were also were also decorated with quillwork
and latter beadwork. Women took great pride in their workmanship
and the uniqueness of their work and vied with one another.
of the geometric figures and designs were passed down
from mother to daughter and were known to belong to the
family who used them. Often they had originated from a
dream. To use designs belonging to another family without
being given permission or purchasing the rights was considered
designs had symbolic meaning. The turtle commonly found
on women’s dresses is symbolic of the protective
qualities imparted to females by the turtle. The spider
web and dragon fly designs imply kinship with the Wakiñyañ,
the thunderbeing. Some represented an event in the person’s
life, for example eight black horse hoofs could represent
that the wearer had captured eight black horses.