Snowshoes

Snowshoes

One new pair of men's hunting snowshoes with rounded toe

Frame made from white birch, webbing of babiche with laced rawhide in the centre (foot) area. Central leather foot straps. Red stripes painted on top and bottom of frame.

The Inland Tlingit made snowshoes for winter travel, trade and hunting. The large surface area distributed the weight of the traveler keeping them from sinking in the snow. The Tlingit made two styles of snowshoes, a pointed tip and a rounded tip construction. These rounded tip snowshoes are more helpful for breaking trail in the bush.

During camp changes or long trips in the snow, men broke a trail through the brush while women pulled skin toboggans filled with the camps belongings along the newly beaten path. Although winter travel could be quite taxing, the necessary footwear helped to lessen the difficulty. Traditionally both men and women made snowshoes, however men typically built the frame.

The birch was shaped around a framing device, a combination of softening and plying the wood around the frame, gave the snowshoe its distinct shape. The smaller netting at the toe and the heel of the snowshoe was woven with babiche (strips of semi tanned hide) or sinew (dried tendons). The middle of the snowshoe where the foot is placed has a wider weave and was laced with strips of rawhide, a more durable material. The typical lifespan of a snowshoe is one season. Each year they required restringing while the frames could be reused for years to come.

Institution

George Johnston Museum, Teslin

Accession Number

1994.2.1

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