Making snowshoes

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Snowshoes were always used in the winter. There were certain qualities of snowshoes. There were snowshoe makers whose work was not the best. If a snowshoe maker was really good, traction on the snow was very effective and the tracks on the snow uniform. But snowshoes made haphazardly were not effective, and the tracks on the snow were uneven, crooked. You can tell if someone was wearing bad snowshoes just from the tracks on the snow. And similarly, you can tell when someone is wearing very good snowshoes. So, there were different qualities of snowshoe making. Even snowshoes for women were different. The snowshoes were shorter, with decorative framing and colourful yarn used for the laces. This is what snowshoes for women looked like; they made them decorative, as women are drawn to decorated things. But men preferred their snowshoes plain, but well framed. There also were flat boards used for snowshoes; a hole is made where the foot can be flexible. My father said this snowshoe was great for tracking caribou. The snowshoe was light and was responsive on the snow. So, my father loved to use these snowshoes. Personally, I never used these flat wood snowshoes. I used the traditional snowshoes. Where I was born, we chased after the caribou. The men were very skilled at this, and even women were good at tracking the caribou. The women also hunted the caribou and successfully hunted them. Hunting caribou was exciting and especially if you had very good snowshoes.


Making snowshoes by Emile Sutherland


Travel winter snowshoes snowshoe maker women caribou tracking

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