Although footwear is generally designed to offer comfort and support and to protect our feet from the elements, much of what we wear manages to be fashionable as well as functional.

The moccasin, the Aboriginal footwear of the Northern Plains, is no different: it is also both practical and stylish. In addition, moccasin decorations often provide spiritual protection in the form of certain symbols, which remind the wearer of sacred places, beings or teachings. These symbols face the wearer rather than the viewer.

The exhibit Moccasins was created to introduce visitors to the Canadian Museum of Civilization's collection of Plains moccasins. Whenever possible, we have tried to present the collection's oldest pair of moccasins from each of the Plains cultures, a pair from the mid-twentieth century and a contemporary pair.

Two talented moccasin makers have also contributed texts: David Pratt, a Dakota/Ute/Nehiyaw from the Gordon Reserve, Saskatchewan, explains the importance of design and colour in Lakota and Dakota moccasins; Harrison Stabs Down-Red Crow, a Kainai (Blood) traditional artist from Stand Off, Alberta, focuses on the changing styles of Blackfoot moccasins.

Morgan Baillargeon, Curator of Plains Ethnology.