ME982X.519.1-2 | Moccasin

Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Huron-Wendat
1840-1860, 19th century
Tanned and smoked hide, moosehair, cotton binding, silk ribbon, cotton thread, sinew, organic dyes
5 x 4.5 x 13.8 cm
Gift of Miss Anne McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Moccasins (230)
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Keys to History

Moosehide was used to sew moccasins like these and other souvenirs destined for sale to tourists, such as magnificent splint ash baskets also made by women. The Huron-Wendat travelled to Quebec City to sell these souvenirs and to buy food and materials needed for their work. In fact, as their craft production increased, their farming and hunting activities decreased. By 1857, the Huron-Wendat needed more than 3,000 moosehides annually to keep up with the pace of production of their craft industry. On occasion, they even purchased antelope skins imported from Africa in order to meet the demand.

  • What

    Moccasins made the traditional way (from tanned and smoked hides) and superbly decorated with moosehair were very much in demand in the 19th century, and Huron-Wendat women made superb ones.

  • Where

    Such moccasins could be purchased in Wendake. The Huron-Wendat also sold them in Quebec City, a short distance away.

  • When

    These moccasins were made in the period 1840-1860, when market for embroidery with moosehair was flourishing.

  • Who

    The animal skins were tanned and smoked by the expert tanners in the community, but it was mainly the women who sewed the moccasins.