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Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage Native material culture in Canada
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This spear decoration is made of a long piece of coloured cotton cloth with 22 golden eagle tail feathers along one edge and lengthwise bands of cloth appliquéd by machine on one side. Feathers which are white at the base and black at the tip are especially prized as they are taken from an eagle that must be at least a few years old, and are therefore more difficult to find. (Ktunaxa, Kootenay)

This sitting blanket or mat is an interesting example of Interior Salish patterned twining, of a type also known to have been made by the Coast Salish in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries using goat's wool. It is woven with different coloured rags and twine in a zigzag design. (Nlaka'pamux)

Joined at the waist by braided cedar bark belt (as used by certain peoples of the lower Ntlak), these leggings are made from strips of cedar bark placed lengthwise and twined together at right angles using strings of hemp. (Nlaka'pamux)

This rain cloak is woven from sage brush bark and ornamented with buckskin. The ends of the bark hang free, creating a fringe effect. This type of cloak was used by poorer people and older women within the community, both of whom may also have used them to sleep on.

Among the Upper Ntlak, ordinary mats were usually thrown over the head and shoulders by people who had to travel during heavy rainfall. These makeshift rain covers where held in position with the hands or fastened with string or pins of wood. However, a few people from both sexes had elaborate rain capes woven of bark and trimmed with fur. Some of them included long fringes, and varied in length from mere shoulder coverings to cloaks that reached below the waist. (Nlaka'pamux)

Bag, © CMC/MCC, II-C-363

Bag Enlarge image

These rawhide bags are very old and have been repainted two or three times. When the original painting begins to wear off it is scraped off and the bag repainted with a new and usually different design. Though these bags can be painted by both sexes, this specific specimen was painted by a woman of the Upper Ntlak. The geometric patterns and colours used to decorate the bag have specific meanings, such as blue squares representing lakes, and red lines representing earth or rocky ground. (Nlaka'pamux)

This horse saddle has a frame made of wood that is covered with rawhide and sewn with sinew. It has a high pommel (the grip at the front of the saddle) and cantle (rear of the saddle). (Ktunaxa, Kootenay)