"I get my ideas for decoration from the bush, just by looking at all the wild flowers, on my nature walks in the summer, just going berry picking and walking with my parents on our summer travels. If one really looks, there are a lot of pretty flowers."
Rose Cli Tsetso, Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, 1993.

Applying the Design

Women applied decoration to the one-piece moccasin after the seams were sewn in order to cover the central front seam. On the other hand, they usually decorated the apron and collar of the two-piece moccasin before sewing them together to form the shoe.

Porcupine quills, moosehair, and natural dye are the traditional materials used for decoration on moccasins and garments. After contact with European traders and settlers, the First Nations could also acquire glass beads, tin, and stroud cloth for this purpose.

Sewing Equipment

Compartmentalized sewing bags, like this one made by Annie Quitte around 1915 to 1925, conveniently held such supplies as needles, threads, and a pin cushion and it rol Read More
"I get my ideas for decoration from the bush, just by looking at all the wild flowers, on my nature walks in the summer, just going berry picking and walking with my parents on our summer travels. If one really looks, there are a lot of pretty flowers."
Rose Cli Tsetso, Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, 1993.

Applying the Design

Women applied decoration to the one-piece moccasin after the seams were sewn in order to cover the central front seam. On the other hand, they usually decorated the apron and collar of the two-piece moccasin before sewing them together to form the shoe.

Porcupine quills, moosehair, and natural dye are the traditional materials used for decoration on moccasins and garments. After contact with European traders and settlers, the First Nations could also acquire glass beads, tin, and stroud cloth for this purpose.

Sewing Equipment

Compartmentalized sewing bags, like this one made by Annie Quitte around 1915 to 1925, conveniently held such supplies as needles, threads, and a pin cushion and it rolled up for compactness when travelling from camp to camp.

This contemporary needle container, made of deer bone and wood, is beautiful as well as practical. The twisted caribou sinew, the traditional material used for sewing, is still sometimes used today.

Changes in Decoration

Compare the early James Bay Cree single moccasin made and worn around 1780 to 1820 to the new pair made in 1987 by Margaret Sabourin, an Athapaskan from the Northwest Territories.

Differences
The Cree moccasin has only naturally dyed porcupine quills whereas the Athapaskan one has quills coloured with manufactured and natural dyes.
The older moccasin has geometrical designs whereas the recent one has floral designs.

Similarities
Both examples:
• have porcupine quill decoration
• have quills sewn to the hide before the shoe parts are sewn together
• use smoked moose hide
• are of two-piece construction

© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Rose Cli Tsetco

Rose Cli Tsetco

Judy Thompson

© Judy Thompson.


Helen Canadien doing quillwork

Helen Canadien doing quillwork

Tessa Macintosh

© Tessa Macintosh


Beadwork on moccasins

Beadwork on moccasins, Fort Nelson, B.C.

Richard Harrington
1949
©ACBH, AM, 1987/363-1-39/7 (N112826).


Upper Tanana Sinew

Upper Tanana Sinew

The Bata Shoe Museum
1985
Caribou
P85.357
© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Ojibwe Needle Container

This contemporary needle container, made of deer bone and wood, is beautiful as well as practical. The twisted caribou sinew, the traditional material used for sewing, is still sometimes used today.

The Bata Shoe Museum
1980 - 1988
Deer bone and wood
S89.149
© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Dogrib Roll-up Bag

Compartmentalized sewing bags, like this one made by Annie Quitte around 1915 to 1925, conveniently held such supplies as needles, threads, and a pin cushion and it rolled up for compactness when travelling from camp to camp.

The Bata Shoe Museum
1915 - 1925
Cotton, wood
S92.16
© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Cree Moccasins

The Cree moccasin has only naturally dyed porcupine quills. This older moccasin has geometrical designs.

The Bata Shoe Museum
1780 - 1820
Lightly smoked moosehide and porcupine quills
P96-121
© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Athapaskan Moccasins

The Athapaskan moccasins have quills coloured with manufactured and natural dyes. This recent moccasin has floral designs.

The Bata Shoe Museum
1987
Smoked moosehide moccasin and porcupine quills
P87.101
© The Bata Shoe Museum, 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will :
  • Explain how the environment influenced population (Aboriginal, French and Engilsh) in their culture, lifestyle and economy;
  • Identify the effects that resulted from interaction between Aboriginal peoples and colonizers;
  • Summarize the evolution of the shoes in Canada and involve significant changes to Canada’s development;
  • Analyze the development of Canada through the evolution of shoes.

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