A richly illustrated study of the dress and adornment traditions of the Indigenous peoples of North America's western subarctic.
Garments made from tanned animal hides afforded Northern Athapaskans protection against a harsh northern environment, but the striking features of this clothing are also a distinctive part of the traditional culture of the Indigenous peoples of North America's western subarctic. Beautifully decorated with quillwork, fringes, and pigments, they provide a means of artistic expression signifying ethnic identity and conveying information about the physical, social, and spiritual well-being of the wearer.
Women's Work, Women's Art, the culmination of over forty years of research, is the first comprehensive study of this little-known aspect of Athapaskan culture. Encompassing all Northern Athapaskan groups, it chronicles a period that saw significant change in Aboriginal culture and the persistence of ancient traditions among the women who made and adorned this clothing. Individual chapters address the various roles and functions of clothing in Athapaskan societies, the technology of clothing production and design, and characteristic regional styles.
Bringing together information from the writings of traders, explorers, missionaries, Athapaskan oral traditions, and community interviews with a wealth of visual materials - from rare early sketches to twentieth century photographs - Women's Work, Women's Art is an engaging and definitive study of Athapaskan clothing and culture.