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  • Wili A', Dogrib steersman, Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories
  • Magnifying Glass

Wili A' Dogrib steersman, Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, 1914.
Photograph by John Alden Mason.
Canadian Museum of Civilization, 26103.

Fur Trade Enters the North

Northwest Territories styles, early 20th century

The Great Slave Lake/Mackenzie River region of the Northwest Territories was at the centre of the northern fur trade during the late 19th century. For the indigenous people of the region, this meant increased availability of trade goods, and increased exposure to people of other cultural backgrounds. By this time, Christian missionaries, who had worked in the region almost as long as the traders, had established schools where young girls were taught European domestic arts, including needlework techniques and designs. Early 20th century footwear made by Athapaskans of the Great Slave Lake/Mackenzie River region reflected these historical developments.