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  • Ed Nagle's dog team and cariole. Provincial Archives of Alberta
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Ed Nagle's dog team and cariole.
Provincial Archives of Alberta, Image no. B.5707

Fur Trade Enters the North

The Dog Team

A new mode of transport, the dog team, entered the North with the fur traders, and was soon adopted by Athapaskans. The custom of decorating sled dogs with gaily embroidered blankets or “tapis,” which became known as “tuppies,” originated with the Red River Métis during the first half of the 19th century. Sled dogs were decked out with tuppies and “standing irons” of ribbons, pompoms, and feathers, and large jingle bells. The dog teams were said to like their colourful, musical adornments, and to be inspired by them, “much as a Highland regiment is by its pipes.”