Mitts

Mitts

A pair of beaded moosehide leather gauntlets

beaver fur trim, wool lining. They also have a leather fringe, and leather ties to attach a security string. The gauntlet has one compartment for the fingers and one compartment for the thumb, a loose wrist and flared opening. On the underside of the flared opening are stitch holes from bead work, the beads are missing, the remaining puncture marks read "CHIEF ISAAC". There is fur trim at the wrist and the flared opening with fringe on the outside edge from the wrist to the opening. A thong tie for the security string is on the inside edge at the wrist. The beadwork on the top side of the finger compartment is of floral and foliage design, consisting of two five-petal flowers connected by green and white foliage to smaller flowers. The beadwork design on the top side of the flared opening shows three five petal flowers, foliage, smaller flowers and insects. The bead colours are various shades of greens, blues, pinks, reds, whites, silvers, and orange.

Chief Issac's mittens. The mitts are beautifully beaded in floral patterns, fur trim and fringes. Originally they would have been beaded with the chief's name, 'CHIEF ISAAC', but the beading has since unraveled. They are impressive as they are beautiful and elaborate. One can tell that they were made for a very important and affluent person. Women prided themselves on making nice garments for their loved ones and esteemed members of the community. Unfortunately the seamstress who made these mittens remains unknown and there is no museum record stating the maker's name. The mittens are beaded so elaborately, they may have been made for special occasions instead of everyday use.

Chief Isaac was a very influential leader of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in people located in the area around Dawson. He was the chief prior to the Klondike Gold Rush until the time of his death in 1932. Chief Isaac is remembered as a strong charismatic leader. He was credited with foreseeing that his people would lose much of their culture as they were increasingly influenced by missionaries and non native society. He was instrumental in moving the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in to Moosehide, a few kilometers from Dawson so that the influx of miners and prospectors could not corrupt his people. He worked with government and church officials to move the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in to Moosehide after they were displaced from Tr'ochëk, the location of the subsequent settlement Lousetown, which was a prominent fishing area for his people.

He is said to have trusted many stories to Alaskan people for safe keeping. Some of these stories had to be relearned years later. He was respected by the people of Dawson although in the frenzy of the times they did not heed his message. He reminded Dawsonites that their prosperity came at the expense of his people, by taking first nations land, driving away game and dispersing his people. During his life, Chief Isaac experienced profound changes and worked hard to ensure his people's survival. The strength, wisdom and spirit of Chief Isaac continue to inspire the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in.

Institution

Dawson City Museum, Dawson City

Accession Number

1978.1.653.a, b

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