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As Heard on Morning Line: Moose Hide Tanning and Sewing in the Dené

Dec 13, 2017

As Heard on Morning Line: Moose Hide Tanning and Sewing in the Dené Way

An event announcement for the Anchorage Museum
Credit Anchorage Museum - Facebook

As the latest in part of an ongoing cultural revitalization effort called Nay’ dini’aa Na’ Hwt’aene Ugheldze’ Xuk’anotta Nene’ Project, Joel Isaak and Melissa Shaginoff are artists-in-residence at the Anchorage Museum this week.

Presentations at the museum are part of the collaborative project with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center & Anchorage Museum to document & teach traditional moose hide tanning & sewing during programs in Kenai, Chickaloon & Anchorage.

This past summer, the project - Nay’ dini’aa Na’ Hwt’aene Ugheldze’ Xuk’anotta Nene’  – held a demonstration event June 9th at the Palmer Museum.   

In October, as part of the Elders and Youth Conference by First Alaskans, the pair presented a hands-on opportunity for students to work on hides - which was met with varying levels of enthusiasm by the youth. 

Throughout the project, Shaginoff and Isaak give credit to elders for their guidance – particularly Helen Dick.

Shaginoff says one huge positive effect of such a project is the tie-in to language revitalization, "

In addition to other events this week, Thursday and Friday at the Museum, a public event: 

Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center
1 to 3 p.m. Thursday & Friday, Dec. 14 & 15

Learn about traditional moose hide tanning & sewing from artists-in-residence Joel Isaak (Dena'ina Athabascan) & Melissa Shaginoff (Ahtna Athabascan/Paiute) who explain materials and techniques.

Melissa Shaginoff and Joel Isaak share about the Moose Hide tanning workshop.
Credit Koahnic Broadcast Corporation

Additional information about the some of the sewing traditions can be found in this study guide, published by the Smithsonian Institute:  https://naturalhistory.si.edu/arctic/html/sharing-knowledge-alaska/pdfs/Land-Quill-Athabascans.pdf