Native American influence
The Haight-Ashbury hippies of San Francisco celebrated the summer of love in 1967, exposing the world to their embrace of the ethnically diverse. Their use of pyschedelia and respect for the Native American practice (peyote, peace pipe, spiritualism) influenced much of the hippie style of dress and adornment. In a show of brotherly love and reverence, the hippies offered respect by adorning themselves in the charms and handicrafts of the Native American peoples.
Elaborate beaded neck chokers, leather and feather neck lariats, and silver bracelets bestowed with turquoise and other stones were popular accessories. Eagle emblems were seen on belt buckles and earrings, and leather and suede fringed vests, moccasins and knee boots were added to everyday wear of the new ethnic look. Hippies embraced ethnicity, making a universal style by mixing several cultural looks into one homogenous whole.
Musical talent and variety show star Cher was instrumental in bringing the allure of silver, turquoise, suede and feathers to middle America. Her ethnic mix (Armenian/Caucasian) and her striking beauty helped to gain mass acceptance for ethnic cultures in white bread America. Her song of Cherokee/Caucasian prejudice “Half Breed,” along with Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Indian Reservation,” increased awareness of the past injustices to native peoples.
While layering on beaded necklaces and silver belt buckles might not excuse the previous several centuries, the Native American influence opened the eyes of many for a newfound respect.
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