Showshoes

Materials

11:39 min. - Great respect is given to the hunter and his gear, meaning his clothing, food and snowshoes. By knowing for whom snowshoes are being made, we automatically know what their dimensions will be.

Transcription

Narrator - Great respect is shown to the hunter and his gear, meaning his clothing, food and snowshoes. When we know who a pair of snowshoes is being made for, we automatically know its dimensions.
Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur - I can't carry this birch back to the camp, it's too heavy. I'll cut it here. I'll need my woodworking tools. It's a good birch, very resistant. I'll use it to make the snowshoe frames.
Narrator - It's not always possible to find a birch this size. In that case, it must be replaced by a smaller birch or a larch, also a very resistant hardwood. Often, several of us work on the same pair of snowshoes. This pair, for example, will be assembled by Antoine and laced by Pelashe. The important thing is that all the contributors have the same intention, to help the hunter feed his people.
Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur - I'll leave them to dry for three days, then I'll even them out.
Kanikuen Gabriel - When the elder puts the finishing touches on his snowshoes, it's like a mechanic that does the finishing on his own car. In a group of hunters, there's always one or two who are better walkers, who go the farthest. They are given snowshoes. I've never seen a young man come home empty-handed when he has new snowshoes. The animal finds him handsome. When this elder finishes lacing, she'll place the snowshoes facing the sunrise, in snow that no one has walked on. She'll place them so an animal can admire them.
Narrator - The value of the snowshoe is determined by each person's intention. Ideally, the snowshoe is flexible enough to support the person it's designed for, as light as possible, and... as beautiful as the hunter is handsome.
The holes that hold the string are placed diagonally and close to each other. This way, the string passes as much as possible inside the frame, which keeps it from wearing out too quickly. It's a technique called "marten's tracks" because of the diagonal and the distance between the holes, a pattern reminiscent of a marten's track. Then we attach different-coloured wool decorations and carve floral or other designs to make the snowshoe even more beautiful.
Pelashe Mark - I thread the rawhide lacing between the strings and I lace it, going around like this. But first, I use a string to hold the various pieces in place while they dry.
Narrator - The lacing is done with rawhide sinew, which is made from rawhide, a hide that hasn't been tanned. The stand holding the snowshoe has a very special meaning. Because we don't want to put added pressure on the snowshoe, which would only slow the hunter down, we hang it on the stand rather than holding it between our knees. Obviously the entire snowshoe can't be laced with a single length of sinew. So, two pieces are joined by making an incision in each one and interlocking them. The resulting joint is practically invisible once dry.
In making his own snowshoes, an Innu unites the animal, vegetable and human kingdoms. This is because his snowshoes help him to hunt and feed his family. It's a subtlety that the Innu language recognizes by classifying the word "asham" (snowshoe) in the category of animated nouns. It takes about a week to lace a pair of snowshoes. To keep boredom at bay, Innu get together and make all kinds of objects.
Pelashe Mark - One more day and I'll have finished the front of the snowshoe.
Narrator - We use an antler from a young caribou to even out the spaces between the lacings.
Rodrigue Fontaine - Hunter, hunter
You who keep your knowledge safe
Hunter in the bush
That's where your grandfather Taught you to hunt
Hunter it's time to go to your land
Hunter in the bush That's where your grandmother taught you
To take care of yourself
Hunter, hunter You who followed the river
To reach your land
Hunter, hunter You'll pitch your tent

Music - Rodrigue Fontaine, Bill St-Onge, Luc Bacon


2 Comments

Sylvain Fillion 4 years, 3 months ago

Félicitation quel beau travail, je voudrais bien avoir votre talent.

paquet 9 years, 4 months ago

félicitation pour faire des raquettes il fau ètre abile de c est mains. j aimme regardé c est vidéo


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4 Related Video to Showshoes

8 Related words or expressions

ashamashkuat
snowshoe frames
ashamat
snowshoes
mashku-ashamat
temporary snowshoe
mukutatsheu
he handles the crooked knife
pushtashameu
he puts on his snowshoes
tashkaishameu
he splits the birch to make snowshoes
tipainassameu mishtikua
measure the wood with his hands
uashkashapenanu
cut rawhide sinew strips



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