On Canadian Ground - Stories of Footwear in Early Canada See more of the Virtual Museum of Canada
ExhibitionMemorable Shoes

KAMIKS OF THE INUIT
MOCCASINS OF THE FIRST NATIONS
SNOWSHOES
THE FOOTED TROUSER
MOCCASINS
MAKING MOCCASINS
DECORATING MOCCASINS
EUROPEAN MATERIALS AND DESIGN FOR MOCCASINS
CHANGING STYLES - THE ROLE OF TRADE & VOYAGEURS
SHOES FOR A NEW LAND
SHOES MADE IN THE AGE OF THE CRAFTSMAN
CANADIAN FOOTWEAR IN THE AGE OF THE MACHINE
Gwich'in beaded caribou skin shirt and moccasin-trousers
Gwich'in women, sketch by Alexander Hunter Murray, 1851
Gwich'in women, sketch by Alexander Hunter Murray, 1851
Ingalik man, photographed by Edward Nelson, c.1880
Gwich'in beaded caribou skin shirt and moccasin-trousers Ingalik man, photographed by Edward Nelson, c.1880
The Footed Trouser

Ancestors of today’s Subarctic Athapaskans, the Gwich’in, made caribou and moose hides into two piece outfits. They wore a sleeved shirt (for men) or a dress (for women) with a combination moccasin-trouser in which the foot section forms part of the garment. The soft-bottom, hide foot of the lower garment suited travel in birch bark canoes and protected against cold and insects at different times of the year.

Compare this Gwich’in beaded caribou skin shirt and moccasin-trousers from about 1840 to 1890 to the 1847 sketch by Alexander Hunter Murray depicting Gwich’in women and children. These garments also look like the one worn by the Ingalik man in the 1880 photograph.

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Gwich'in shirt Gwich'in moccasin-trousers
Gwich'in shirt Gwich'in moccasin-trousers
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