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bone knife

The resourcefulness of traditional hunting and trapping people stems from a holistic view of the surrounding environment that is at once functional and reverent. The boreal forest is a haven of provision to those who respect its ways. Waste is a road to ruin. Everything that can be used, should be. This idea becomes evident when exploring the crafting of traditional tools in the bushlands.

wood fish net needle

Animal bone is one often used material for making tools. Knives or knife handles, arrow heads, hide scrapers, eating utensils, awls, tent spikes, and a host of other materials can be fashioned from bone. Animal hides can also be fashioned into a number of useful pieces. Strips of hide can be used for lacing, while larger strips can be employed as rope. Sinew from large animals such a deer, moose, or caribou could be used as sewing thread. Hide could make bags and cases for guns and knives, while the stomach or bladder of a moose or bear could a useful bag for storing fat. Wood from trees is yet another material from which many tools can be made. Arrow or fishhook shafts, snowshoes, paddles for canoes, drying racks for fish and meat, and many other useful tools can be fashioned from wood.

Like other aspects of traditional life, tool making is one that in recent times has been in the main replaced by a more commercially centred existence. Tools are more often than not purchased from commercial centres in the north, rather than made by hand.

Featured Video: Spring Equipment and Supplies

The Heritage Community Foundation, with the kind permission of Terry Garvin, is pleased to present this feature excerpt from the Bush Land People video.

As winter turns to spring, traditional hunters and trappers rely on many pieces of equipment and supplies to pursue their subsistence lifestyle. Some of these items are purchased, rather than handmade.

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