How to Make Indian Braids

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The size of braids can range from small to large, depending on the amount of braids.
The size of braids can range from small to large, depending on the amount of braids. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

In Native American tradition, knowing how to braid hair was an essential skill, as it kept long, thick hair neat and orderly. Braids also were a method of signifying a person’s status in the tribe and had religious meanings. Women wore braids to signify their marital status as well; an unmarried woman wore two braids, while a married woman wore one. Many Native Americans adorned their braids with colorful beads or feathers. You can learn to braid your hair with a set of relatively simple steps that will allow you to recreate the traditional Native American hairstyle.

Things You'll Need

  • Comb
  • Ponytail holder
  • Feather
  • Beads
  • Leather piece

Remove any tangles in the hair by combing the hair.

Gather all the hair into a low ponytail at the back of the neck. Comb the hair again while you are holding it back.

Tie the hair at the back of the neck with a ponytail holder to ensure the hair does not come undone.

Separate the ponytail into three sections of approximately the same size. Hold the rightmost section with your right hand and the leftmost section with your left. Hold the center section in either hand, just so it is separate from the other two sections.

Transfer the rightmost section over the center section so it becomes the new center section. Use your right hand to hold the previous center section.

Repeat the procedure in Step 5 with the leftmost section by moving it over the center section so the leftmost section is in the center. Hold the new leftmost section in your left hand.

Continue braiding the hair by alternating between the right and left sections as in Steps 5 and 6 until you have braided the entire ponytail.

Tie the braid snugly with a ponytail holder at the end to keep the braid together and neat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Attach a feather or leather piece along with beads to adorn the braid.
  • Make two braids by parting the hair at the center of the forehead to the back of the next into two equal sections. Tie each section with a ponytail holder at the back of the neck and proceed to braid each section individually.

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