Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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seł “footwear”
Language: Dena’ina

These Dena’ina women’s moccasins for summer are made from tanned caribou hide on which small round scars left by a common parasite of the animal – the warble fly – can be seen. Late nineteenth-century tall moccasins like these echo an even older style of “moccasin-pants” that rose all the way to the waist. They are decorated with bands of glass trade beads that resemble designs that before European contact were made with dyed porcupine quills. Elders said that the fringes of sinew on the back of each moccasin were added to “mess up the trail,” erasing the wearer’s passage as she walked.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Cook Inlet, Alaska
Village: Tyonek
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 44.5cm
Accession Date: 1882
Source: William J. Fisher (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E072503