Dog blankets are made to serve as "saddle blankets" when dog are used to pack goods. They also keep dogs warm while dog sledding in harsh conditions. Although most huskies enjoy the cold, the Yukon can be extreme and blankets and booties are worn by dogs on extended trips. Old style dog blankets are elaborately decorated with beaded patterns. The beading on this dog blanket was done by Julia (Kutug) MacDonald. Julia was of Gwich'in decent and the beading reflects the style that has come to denote patterns from Gwich'in territory in Northern Yukon.
Julia MacDonald (née Kutug) was the wife of Archdeacon Robert MacDonald who served the Anglican Church from 1852-1905. Robert McDonald's greatest legacy is his translation work. Assisted by his First Nations wife, Julia Kutug, he translated the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and many hymns. He also prepared a scholarly grammar of the Tukudh language, a book of family prayers to be used in First Nations camps, and a primer for teaching Gwich'in peoples how to read. Julia would repeat words over and over to him until he understood the phonetics. From the phonetics he composed a written language. His syllabarium of phonetics and his translations are still in use by a number of Gwich'in people. Tukudh language is currently known as the Gwich'in Athapaskan language but has also been known as Loucheux and Kutchin. It is used in Northern Yukon, Northeast Alaska and Northeast North West Territories.
Old Log Church Museum, Whitehorse