The perceived factors affecting the survival of traditional moose skin preparation procedures by the Nelson House Rocky Cree

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Nickels, Bret,
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This study describes historical and contemporary Rocky Cree skin preparation procedures used for moccasin production and articulates the difficulties and prospects of maintaining traditional approaches to moose skin preparation procedures by the inhabitants of Nelson House, Manitoba. The research involves the analysis of the various socioeconomic and environmental factors which impact the maintenance and development of a sustainable traditional moccasin economy. The objectives of this study are to identify and describe the various steps involved in the moose skin preparation process, and then to analyze the various factors that influence or inhibit the survival of such processes in order to assess the prospects for a viable traditional Rocky Cree moccasin economy. Skin preparation techniques are collected through participant-observation and interviews in order to discover what factors or influences either preserve or discourage each stage of traditional Rocky Cree skin preparation. Experienced skin preparers are identified and used as key informants. They provide details on the entire skin preparation process including information on scraping techniques, tools, materials, environmental and resource problems and prospects, and smoke tanning concerns. An analysis of skin preparation procedures reveal social, economic, and environmental factors influencing the sustainability of Rocky Cree skin preparation methods which have far reaching implications for the Rocky Cree traditional moccasin craft economy. The results provide additional implications for Rocky Cree cultural evolution, economic development, and land-use. In addition, this study clarifies the cultural value and the socioeconomic role and importance of the traditional Rocky Cree moccasin craft economy to the overall Nelson House economy. This study may provide valuable information to anthropologists, ethnologists, folklorists, curators, northern educators, zoologists, and those interested in the economics and processes of northern craft industries.