Antique Native American (First Nation) Indian Snowshoes
c. 1930-1940, 20th century
Wood, Babiche, Metal (nails)
42"l x 11"w
© Vintage Winter
A great set of Native American Indian Snowshoes. They are intricately woven with animal hide, leather bindings and a nice winter wrap. They have their original red pom pom tribal markers. These are in good condition.
It is thought that decorative pom poms originated from both spiritual and hunting tactics. The hunter would carefully dress the snowshoes with pom poms made from the fur of the primarily hunted species. So if they mainly hunted caribou, the pom poms were typically made from caribou fur. Simple logic in hopes of deterring the human smell if the hunter became upwind. On the spiritual side, some aboriginal hunters believed they needed to please the animal spirits to have a successful hunt. To do this, they would decorate their snowshoes with pom poms, paint, and geometric designs woven directly into the hide lacing.
Tribal tradition also played a role in the color of pom poms with different colors referring to different tribes or regions. For instance, Cree Indian snowshoes are primarily red in color.