Stepping into Womanhood
“My mother started me on sewing. As I was left-handed she had a hard time teaching me. She started me on silk embroidery; later on we learned bead work on our own. The first thing I sewed was for slippers and mukluk tops.”
Violet Rowenna McLeod, born June 22, 1939
Embroidery floss, needles and scissors were brought into the north by fur traders in the second half of the 19th century. Athapaskan women soon excelled at employing these new materials and tools for clothing decoration. Mission schools run by Ursuline Sisters, Grey Nuns and Anglicans played an important role in introducing European needlework techniques and motifs to Athapaskans.