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The origin of moccasins

Although the word “moccasin” is synonymous with the First Nation shoe, the origin of the word refers to footwear which includes the sandals, boots, and leggings that First Nation peoples wore.

Moccasins are protective footwear, often to keep feet from freezing. They were designed for the environment that the person lived in. For example, hard-soled moccasins of the Plains groups were made for rocky terrain while the Apache moccasins were characterized by turned-up toes to prevent sharp objects from piercing into the foot.

Moccasins are made from the hide of moose, deer, elk, or buffalo. Brain-tanned hide is similar to commercial leather today and is softer and easier to sew than buckskin (although not as durable).To create moccasins, patterns are made with the grain of the leather since they stretch when worn and are sewn with sinew. To punch through the leather for sewing, bone awls were traditionally employed whereas leather punches are now used.

The most basic moccasin is made from a single piece of leather with a central seam running up the top of the foot. Amongst different tribes, there were variations and additions made to the moccasin structure such as cuffs, differing heels and vamps as well as distinct beading and quill decorations. Woodland moccasins were decorated with floral or animal design on the instep and cuffs whereas Plains moccasins had unadorned cuffs with geometric patterns on the instep or around the sole.

Make your own pair of custom moccasins in the style shown below at the Moccasin Workshop Nov 15, 2015! Register by calling at 519-473-1360.

Moccasin and Longhouse

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I will be there on the 16th of November… thanks

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