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Hide tanning focus of weekend workshop in Westbridge

Participants learn ancient art of making buckskin

An ongoing workshop series into reclaiming Indigenous traditions brought students to Westbridge for a weekend of learning about tanning animal hides to turn them into buckskin.

During the Red Earth Medicine’s “Reclaiming our Rites to Ceremony” workshop series, students spent the weekend with retired tanner Billy Metcalf to learn the steps to the ancient art. Over three days, about 15 people learned about the history and practical knowledge of how to turn deer hides to a quality buckskin, which they will be using to make moccasins to wear with their pow wow regalia. Metcalf lead the students through all the steps, from de-fleshing and de-hairing hides, to soaking them in solutions to clean and preserve them, stretching and softening, sewing them together and hanging them over smokers to tan the hides.

Once they were done, Metcalf said they would have quality, soft buckskin ideal for making clothing and moccasins.

About the Author: Karen McKinley

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