Moccasins (the shoes, not the snake!)

Moccasins are the original shoe of this continent. Historically the footwear of North American Indians, they were adopted by some European hunters and trappers as they came "across the pond" and settled in here.

Moccasins are shoes made of soft leather (animal hide) and often times sported beautiful embroidery or beads. They are typically made from a single piece of leather and then stitched up and around the foot in a variety of ways. 

Most moccasins are soft-soled, allowing the wearer to be in touch with the ground. In areas with rougher or rocky terrain, the wearer adopted a harder sole to protect their feet. The patterns, colors and embroidery materials varied by tribe, location, and even event. Some moccasins were for hunting, some for dancing. Every embroidered stitch was intentional and told a story about the owner and tribe. Here are a few examples: 

Photos: (L-R) Shoshone beaded moccasins, Hopi Pueblo moccasins (dancing shoes); Crow moccasins; Kiowa moccasins. All photos courtesy of Wikipedia




Do you have some nice, soft deer hide hanging around? No? Well, that's ok. You can still make some moccasins with your kids!


If you wanted to tell a story with your shoes, what would you decorate them with? Tissue paper? Markers? Glitter? What colors do you love? How would you share what is meaningful to you on such a small surface? Grab your newly created moccasins or a sturdy old pair of shoes that could use a refurbish and get crafting! We'd love to see what you create! 

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