Today my blog thoughts out loud is not related to anything academic, but instead, its about material culture and my love for hats. In fact, let me preface this blog thoughts out loud with a, “I have a mean hat collection” and pride myself in the fact that family know my love of hats. One year for my birthday I was gifted a Cheesehead hat from Wisconsin. Although I’m not a Cheesehead, it was by far one of the funniest hats I’ve ever received.
Recently, I overheard that it was disrespectful and a sign of ill regard for prayer and essentially meant a person had no respect for other people’s prayers. When told in that manner, I wanted to know how that came about and thought more on my cultural love and respect for hats. I know I am not disrespectful and if I’m wearing a hat and did not take it off, it would mean that I was disrespectful. Bare with me please, it’s thought provoking to say the least.
First off, I’m Diné, but I’m also NiMiiPuu. And Nimiipuu women wear hats as a part of our culture. Now granted not everyone wears one, but historically, we wore a nitskaw in our material culture. In fact, its what NiMiiPuu women were known for historically, and today, when a woman wears her nitskaw, its usually at ceremony or for dancing. When out of ceremony, she may wear a head scarf OR a hat.
My thoughts and beliefs about this part of Nimiipuu culture is that Nimiipuu used to wear hats a lot more than they do today. It’s in our culture and when and if you see a NiMiiPuu ayat wearing one of those woven basket hats that you see, please note, she earned it, but also recognize, she’s honoring her ancestors.
The thought provoking idea that got me to think more on this had me questioning, who and where did the idea of taking off the hat off come from? Is it something that military or service men who took their berets/hats off during war that started this? When I think of white women in Europe who wore hats back in the early 16th through 19th Centuries they had quite a few styles. Did they take their hats off when told?
I know, I know this may seem silly of me to ask, but, I’m more curious about this to break away from dense readings on signifying topics of race and decolonizing methodologies. I wonder, who said wearing a hat in prayer was disrespectful?
Anyway, take a look at these NiMiiPuu basket hats, just as a thought… but would anyone tell a NiMiiPuu woman directly she was disrespectful for wearing her nitskaw?