Deniigi c’ezes c’et naden
The Place We Return to for Moose Hide

Grantee: Cheesh'na Tribal Council 
Story by Jessica Denny

The purpose of the project was to begin the process of rebuilding our knowledge systems of traditionally tanning moose hides through collaboration with Alaska Native Elders and knowledge holders that continue to practice hide tanning. In 2022 we hosted three intergenerational moosehide tanning camps.

We intentionally chose to hold intergenerational camps to normalize youth seeing and growing up with moosehide tanning. Youth could listen to Elders teaching and relaying information. They could see and hear our language and songs in this process, to respect our Elders in their knowledge and teachings.

The camp provided a safe traditional space to work on the process of tanning a hide. Tools were supplied and Elders were present to show, explain and tell their stories of tanning hides. The camp was grounded each day with sharing and talking about how we take care of ourselves and environment, and how to honor and respect Indigenous knowledge. 

Traditional food was abundant and shared with everyone. The community came and ate with all participants and shared their memories of moose hide tanning and other traditional activities. It was a remarkable experience to see the impacts of hide tanning on the participants. Hide tanners shared about their experiences of reclaiming indigenous knowledge within a community.

Read more about TCF’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Art & Culture 

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