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  • Gwich'in women near Rampart House, Yukon, on the border between Alaska and Canada
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Gwich'in women near Rampart House, Yukon, on the border between Alaska and Canada, late 1920s.
Claude Tidd collection, Yukon Archives.
Claude Tidd Fonds, 7324

Clothing of the Athapaskans

Traditional Winter Clothing, continued

“Before they had duffel, they used rabbit skin ... I remember my mom used to tan a real rabbit from the bush, she used to tan it and that was to wrap around her little feet.”
Jane Dragon, Fort Smith, N.W.T., 1993

Traditionally, the lower garment was a combination moccasin trouser made of soft, furred hide. It provided excellent protection against cold, snow and drafts, and worked well with snowshoes. In the 19th century, fur and hide boots and moccasins with wraparound cuffs and liners superseded the traditional lower garment.

In very cold weather, feet required extra insulation. Snowshoe hare skins were often used to line winter footwear. The skin was removed in its entirety and pulled over the foot fur side in, and as the hide dried, it took the shape of the wearer's foot. Alternatively, strips of soft, furred hare, caribou or beaver hides were wrapped around the feet.