A Journey to What Matters-Alaska Native PLACE Kec’otl’ Workshop

Project: Alaska Native PLACE Kec’otl’ Workshop
Grantee: Alaska Native Heritage Center
Story by: Erin Gingrich
Photos by: Carla Gingrich

On November 23rd and 24th students and artists gathered to learn how to make Kec’otl’, a Dene Athabaskan work boot constructed out of smoked moose hide, canvas, thread, artificial sinew, tanned hide lashing, fleece lining and yard draw strings. The work boot was historically made for everyday wear and use as a more understated utilitarian item.

The workshop taught by Sondra Shaginoff-Stuart gathered many people together to learn how to make a single cotton mock up boot for sizing before proceeding into crafting the smoked moose hide booties that were later attached to the canvas boot shaft to make a pair of custom fitted Kec’otl’.

During the workshop Athna Language and sewing terms were shared, indigenous stories were told and Native food was eaten as students worked on their boots.  The skin sewing was done with the good thoughts and intentions that surrounded the event as students were taught how to honor and respect the materials shared.