Panoramic View 8 Miles from Fort Franklin, N.W.T. Painting by George Back, 11-21 March 1826. Library and Archives of Canada C-093038

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Tradition and Innovation

Northern Athapaskan Footwear

”Being an Indian means being able to understand and live with this world in a very special way. It means living with the land, with the animals, with the birds and fish, as though they were your sisters and brothers. It means saying the land is an old friend and an old friend your father knew, your grandfather knew, indeed your people have always known.”
Richard Nerysoo, Fort McPherson, NWT

Footwear has always been an important and distinctive aspect of Northern Athapaskan culture. Throughout the centuries, footwear has provided protection against a harsh environment and served as an outlet for artistic creativity. It has incorporated materials from the land and skills passed from generation to generation, while expressing on-going creativity and innovation.

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    • Made by Julie Lennie, Deline (Fort Norman),Northwest Territories, 1987 Moose and caribou hide, cotton embroidery thread,porcupine quill, horsehair These moccasins won first prize in the embroidery section of The Decorated Moccasin Contest,sponsored by The
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  • Ankle-wrap moccasins, Slavey
    NWT, 1987

    BSM P87.104