Michael L.

Caledonia, Nova Scotia

South Shore Regional School Board

Tackling Traditional Tanning

Tackling Traditional Tanning is a project about tanning hides following the traditions of my Mi’kmaq ancestors.





What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

One of the most interresting things that I learnd was that the Mi'kmaq women use to chew the hide to make it soft after the smoking. Also, did you know the brain in one animal is big enough to tan its own hide? I also discovered that the acid in the brain is what tans the hide up. Finally, did you know you can use any animal's brain to tan any animal's hide?

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

The Mi'kmaq people have an art that should be shared. Many of our traditions are being lost so it is important for young people to learn our traditions. Technically I learned that when you're fleshing the hide you must be really careful as it is easy to cut. I also learned that with problem solving, mistakes are fixable. My people did not waste things. If you cut the hide you can always sew it up with sinew or thread. I also learned to never get upset and to keep on trying!

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Today no one needs to know how to tan hides or even how to survive in the woods! Everything is easier. If my people did not know how to tan hides they would not have survived. Hides were used for shelter, hunting materials and clothing. It was very important to their survival.