Gwich'in Name

“In ts’ii deii days, snowshoes, eih, were the main means of transport in a land covered by snow for eight months of the year. They made it possible to hunt in areas that a hunter travelling on foot would have been unable to reach. They allowed the families to move camp. They were sometimes even used as snow shovels when the families set up camp at a new site. Other means of transport have changed: the Gwichya Gwich’in began to use dog teams when the fur traders arrived; skidoos have replaced dog teams, but today’s hunter and trapper relies on snowshoes as much as did his ancestor during ts’ii deii days.” — Michael Heine et al., 2007

“The frame was coloured with red ochre, tsaih. Traditionally, only the women’s snowshoes were coloured ... When taking tsaih, it was important to leave something else in place. If this was not done, bad weather, or even a storm, might be caused ..." — Michael Heine et al., 2007

Catalogue Data

Materials: birch wood, rawhide thong, porcupine quills, glass beads, red ochre
Dimensions: L. 115 cm
Collected by: Richard G. McConnell, Lapierre House, Yukon, 1888
Catalogue Number: CMCC VI-I-10

Manufacture and Use

  • About the Artifact

    “The snowshoes of the Kutchin [Gwich’in] tribes are said to be all of identical type, with no more variations...

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  • About the Collector

    Richard McConnell was a geologist with the Geological Survey of Canada. In 1887–1888 he explored northern British...

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