Published on January 28, 2013 by Carol

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To hunt the beaver, the Indians would use a toboggan made of either birch bark or cedarwood, laced with babiches or thick moose sinew. The toboggan was entirely outfitted for hunting beaver.

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Spears, paddles, nets, the different traps, were all placed in the front part of the toboggan. A space was left at the back for the food containers.

The toboggan was either drawn by harnessed dogs, or by hand.

Sap, Canoes, Fuel etc.
When the sap oozes from the maple tree, it is time for the Indians to gather their bark, for making their canoes and birch bark containers and pictorials. The bark is then the right color, a brick red.

Canoes are also made of elm bark.

It was an ancient custom for the Indian woman to gather birch bark fuel, for hunter’s fires.

Tooth designs were also made from leaves and used as a pattern, for making designs on moccasins or buckskin clothing.

Patterns were bitten n thin sheets of birch bark, and used for porcupine embroidery designs, for basketry, or moccasins. In each dent a procupine quill was inserted.

Walking sticks were also made of birch bark, and coiled around a stick. The stick was not removed.

Rattles are made of birch bark, and filled with small pebbles. Pictorial designs cover the rattles.

Birch Bark Torches
There are different kinds of torches used by the Indians, some are rolled on a stick, others are made of pieces of rough outer bark, and attached to a cleft stick.

Green bark does not flare, the dry bark makes a nice bright fire. Large and small torches are used when traveling through the bush at night. Birch bark is perfumed and has a very pleasant odor when burning.

Smudge Torches
Tree fungus, inserted in a short weged stick, and worn on the headdress, or hat, is used by the Indians, when waling through the bush, against black flies or mosquitoes. The fungus are used green, and there is no danger of fire. The smaller kind is used.

Masimin Dyes
Blue, black and red were the most difficult dyes or colors to obtain among the Indians. They were kept most preciously, and were used only on special occasions such as ceremonial feasts.

The Indians would paint their faces and their bodies, using these colored dyes for their secret markings. The women were entrusted with this form of decoration, working at times an entire day on one single body. Red and yellow ochres were also used.

The dyes were kept, some of them in small birch bark envelope-shaped containers; others were kept in powdered form in small bucksin pouches. The paint brushes were mad of moose or deer hair, and fastened to a small stick. Small twigs were also used to apply the paint.

A slight coat of gease was first applied to the skin. Few mordants were used as a fixative for the skin, grindstone (sandstone) being the favorite mordant used among the Indians, or certain astringent barks, infused. many vegetable dyres, or mineral, have their own mordants. Wood ashes were often used.

The women always went in search of dye plants, or minerals, never the men. No one was ever told where the dyes had been found. “Only an Indian can keep a secret,” said Black Beaver woman.

Source: Sacred-texts Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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