Posted on 2 Comments

Turkey Feathers History

Primary Turkey Wing

A Little Turkey Feathers History

When Europeans first encountered turkeys in America, they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guinea fowl (birds which were thought to typically come from the country of Turkey.) The name of the North American bird then became “turkey fowl”, which was then shortened to turkey. Wild turkey is native to North American in an area ranging from Northern Mexico to the Eastern United States. The wild turkey nearly disappeared in the early 1900s due to over hunting and clearing for farmland.

Roles of Turkey Feathers in Native American Culture

Turkey Feathers HistoryNative Americans first domesticated turkeys around 800 B.C. Turkeys weren’t initially used for their meat, but rather their feathers.

Native Americans hunted wild turkey for its meat as early as 1000 A.D. They made turkey whistles out of turkey wing bones. The feathers were used to decorate ceremonial clothing.  Turkey Wing Feathers were used to stabilize arrows.

Turkeys play a variety of roles in the folklore of different Native American tribes. In some legends, Turkey is portrayed as a wily, overly-proud trickster character. In others, he is shy and elusive. The Pima people consider the turkey a rain spirit, and have folk beliefs about turkeys being able to predict the weather.

Turkeys are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Turkey feathers have been used in the traditional regalia of many tribes, particularly the feathered cloaks of eastern Woodland Indians like the Wampanoag.  Several eastern tribes/clans have a Turkey Dance that is an important social dance associated with songs about war honors and tribal pride.

There several thoughts on what the turkey feather represents.  A turkey is a symbol of the wildness of the Earth, the earth is a wilderness that man can never control.  A feather from a turkey symbolizes abundance, pride and fertility.

We have a complete selection of Natural Turkey Feathers for all your craft projects!