What About That Moose Hide?

English: Moose, Superior National Forest, Minn...

One time I heard there were 160 000 moose on the island of Newfoundland.  It’s an animal that is not native to our province, that was brought in from another province, and we have an abundance of them.  They are loved by moose hunters. Most of the time we hear about moose is when there’s an accident and it is caused by a moose on our highways.

Having lived on two reservations in British Columbia where moose are used by the native people I have a slightly different view on moose. These aboriginal people are talented in preparing the hides by stretching, cleaning, curing and smoking the hide. I’ve stood for hours watching a Carrier person scrape the fat from the surface of a moose skin. And I’ve witnessed the hides being placed in a smoke house.

The time I was in Takla Landing, back in 1976 I slept beneath a moose hide, using it as a comforter. I loved the smoke aroma which lingers on the hide. It was warm and fit my double bed perfectly. I paid sixty dollars for the hide and treasured it. I still have it to this day!

Tonight I got to thinking that since we have so many moose killed each year, wouldn’t it be great if we could cure the hides the way the native peoples do. They have learned how to make clothing such as slippers and jewelry with the strong hide. It seems like a big waste of a part of an animal. There must be hundreds of hides discarded each year!

My friend Eileen from county Cork and I helped an old lady while living in Takla. We carried water for her and washed her floors.  She had  painful corns on her feet and Eileen would deal with her corns by soaking and removing them. Sarah Teegee was ninety years old and did not make many pairs of slippers from the hide any more. But when we were leaving the reserve, she gifted us with a magnificent handbag made from moose hide decorated with beautiful bead work!  We were overwhelmed. Her eyesight was very poor but she spent hours making these bags for us. Not only was the beading meticulous, the braiding and the stitches were perfect!

Moose is used by hunters’ families these days for roasts, steaks, sausages and stews and soups. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we also learned how to cure the hides? I’m sure the good Lord intended for us to use as much of the moose as we can.

Moose - Animal - Wildlife - Alaska

Sites For Hide Preparation:

htthttp://www.native-art-in-canada.com/hidetanning.html

http://www.kayas.ca/hidephotoset23.html

http://lifeasahuman.com/2011/home-living/lifestyle/passing-on-traditions-how-to-tan-a-mooshide/

http://www.iti.gov.nt.ca/artscrafts/hides.shtml

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About Newfoundland Traveller

I'm a Newfoundlander with a love of reading, writing and travelling. I've travelled around our province and lived in four provinces of Canada. I love a good book and a good blog. My family means the world to me, and some day I hope to travel to many countries of the world with my husband and sons' families.
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8 Responses to What About That Moose Hide?

  1. Lori says:

    Great post and would love to hear more about your time on the reservation.

  2. I am with Lori on wanting to hear more. For one thing, I would like to know what smoking the hide accomplishes. And then I’d like to hear what the various uses of the hide are. Is the hide furred, or tanned for leather uses? These feel like ignorant questions, but hey, I am–ignorant about this topic (and many others, trust me)

    • I’ve linked to many sites on the preparing of the hides for use in making clothing such as moccasins, vests, jewelry etc. Usually the hair is removed from the hide by the Carrier people, as I witnessed in my time there in Takla. They didn’t tan it, but the smoke changed the color of it. It was a cream color on one side, and a light brown on the other. Perhaps some of my friends/students from Takla could tell us more. It’s been a while!

  3. eof737 says:

    Interesting post… By the way, you left a comment on my blog but it is not on any of my posts. I’m puzzled. Any idea?

  4. Pingback: Hilarious Or What? « newfoundlandtraveller

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