Land Based Learning & Traditional Deer Hide Tanning

Land Based Learning & Traditional Deer Hide Tanning

Howah! “Wow!” What an awesome experience for students from St Edward Catholic School, St Hilary Catholic School and Nipigon-Red Rock District High School to work with Great Lakes Cultural Camp! Great Lakes Cultural Camp is a small family run business from the Sault Ste Marie area who provides many land-based programs and activities to schools and communities.

During the week of December 16th to 19th at Nip-Rock High School, Great Lakes Cultural Camp guided students on the traditional process of deer hide tanning from freshly skinned to smoking/waterproofing the hide. Students were all hands-on and worked collaboratively to remove the flesh and hair from the hide, stretch over a wooden frame, drying, soaking the hide in a brain solution, working the water out of the hide, preparing the punky spruce wood for the smoking/waterproofing of the hide and smoking the hide.

Students also learned about the many uses of the deer parts from the antlers to the hooves and the Ojibwe words for each step in the tanning process. 

deer hide
boys working hands-on preparing deer skin

As word got out about these sessions, many came to visit and participate in the deer tanning process including Chief, Marcus Hardy; Councillor, Shannon Ruth; Chair of the Superior North Catholic District School Board, Judy Wawia; and community members from Red Rock Indian Band, Red Rock and Nipigon, Native as a Second Language teachers and Nipigon-RedRock High School teachers.

students sitting around outdoor fire

students around campfire

Many students ended their day by being outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and sharing their learning from the day, by a blazing hot fire and drinking hot chocolate! Mino-bimaadiziwin “Good Life”!

"Together We Educate Heart, Mind and Soul."