The connection between traditional fashion, cultural footwear and modern identity

What you wear says a lot about you. It can tell people what you do for a living, what your social status is, and even where you come from. On the show this week, we're exploring the role fashion and footwear plays in sharing the stories and culture of indigenous Canada.
Annie Bowkett makes traditional, Inuit clothing by hand from her workshop in Winnipeg. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)
Listen to the full episode39:52

What you wear says a lot about you. It can tell people what you do for a living, what your social status is, and even where you come from. On the show this week, we're exploring the role fashion and footwear plays in sharing the stories and culture of indigenous Canada. 

When Annie Bowkett moved from Pangnirtung, Nunavut to Winnipeg, she brought her talents for making traditional Inuit clothing by hand. We'll head into her small workshop to find out how she creates parkas, mitts and kamiks — sealskin and caribou footwear.

Gregg Deal outside the Denver Art Museum. (courtesy Gregg Deal)
Performance artist Gregg Deal dressed up as a stereotype to address the image problems of the pop culture Indian. Find out how people responded.

The Bata Shoe Museum is featuring an exhibit called Beauty, Identity and Pride: Native North American Footwear. Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack explains how different traditions influence footwear, from design to construction. And how they were used to express status, and now, offer glimpses of history.

Custom Cree Nisga'a boots. (Duncan McCue/CBC)
Cree Nisga'a Clothing is on the Tzeachten First Nation in Chilliwack, B.C. The family business creates custom, hand painted, mukluk type boots. But the business got started kind of by accident, when they sold their first pair right off owner Linda Lavallee's feet. 

Native North America Vol. 1 is up for a Grammy award in the Best Historical Album category. (supplied)
This week's playlist

Willie Mitchell - "Birchbark Letter"

John Trudell - "Rockin' the Res"

Samantha Crain - "Outside the Pale"

Kinnie Starr - "High Heels"