Deerskin dress (NLaka'pamux)

CMC S94-36826; PCD 96-970-004

Dress; NLaka'pamux, acquired 1915; skin, paint. CMC II-C-398

The fabric for skin clothing came from the large hides of deer, elk and moose. When scraped clean of fur, they were softened and smoked in a lengthy tanning process.

Dresses such as this, made from two deerskins, were used by some women in the winter time, sometimes as an overdress (instead of a robe) to cover a buckskin dress. Heads of skins were stitched to the body and painted with designs in red.

On one side, the designs represent "sky line", "earth line with trees", and "two men meeting"; elders have recently suggested that the two figures are possibly a hunter and deer. On the other side, "earth line", "snakes", and "earth line with tree". The long line with cross lines is a "large tree".

The dress is ornamented with fringes and three notched lines cut in the hair. Its sides are laced up with skin thongs.