"The women punched holes around the hide to tie it to the frame which they stood upright against 2 trees. With a sharp bone, they scraped off the fur on one side, the flesh from underneath and let it stand for a night." (La Loche circa 1944)
"FROM MOOSE TO MOCASSINS"
"Last summer while I was staying at Pachuanak with my father, I was interested in
watching the women transform a moose's hide into beaded moccasins.
This is how they did it." (written in 1947 by a student of Ile a la Crosse School)
"The men had killed a moose - a rare event these past years -- and brought the hide home to their women who immediately soaked it in a tub of water so that it would not harden before they worked on it. The men also made a frame with four poles -- and their task was ended."
upright against 2 trees. With a sharp bone, they scraped off the fur on one side,
the flesh from underneath and let it stand for a night."
The next day they removed the hide from the frame and rubbed it on both sides with the brains of the moose which the men had saved. This takes
the place of oil, I was told. It was then left to dry in the sun for a few days.
When it was dry, they soaked it again in water to soften it.
They took the hide to the bush, hung it over a
strong branch, and wrung it with a stick, turning it over
and over until not a drop of water could be squeezed out of it.
While the skin was drying, the women scraped it and beat it with covers of
pails to make it fuzzy and soft on both sides. It was now ready to be tanned.
They sewed the skin together lengthwise, leaving both ends open.
With three sticks they built a tepee, suspended the skin inside
and made a fire with rotten wood directly beneath it.
The smoke which curled in and out of the roll of skin, tanned it to a golden color.
Finally they cut out the mocassins according to a simple pattern of their own.
Some sewed on the colored beads , scarce and expensive since the war,
while others embroidered the floral designs which they
had traced on the skin with a little stick dipped in a red
solution made with a piece of crepe paper.
What patient labour it required -- definitely a woman's work"~
Florence Ahenakew (IX)
"They took the hide to the bush, hung it over a strong branch, and wrung it with a stick, turning it over and over until not a drop of water could be squeezed out of it."
(La Loche circa 1944)
|(La Loche circa 1944)|
Florence Ahenakew was a grade 9 student at Ile a la Crosse School in 1947 when she wrote this story. She was born on June 7, 1929. Her father was Alexander Ahenakew, the H.B.C. post manager of the Pine River Post .....read more
Copied from 'Island Breeze' ....December 1947 (Ile a la Crosse newspaper)
The black and white photos on this page were taken in the 1940's in La Loche, Saskatchewan.
The boy is Robert Guetre (1940?). Elizabeth (Robert's mother) is the lady on the left. Father Ducharme on the left. Isabelle (Velner) Janvier (grandmother of Pauline (Janvier) Fontaine)