British Columbia

Lheidli T'enneh First Nation makes moosehide pouches for Canada Winter Games

A group of volunteers from the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation is making 1,350 moosehide pouches to hold medals won at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C., next month.

Darcy Dennis hopes athletes will walk away from games with a piece of Lheidli T'enneh region

A group of volunteers from the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation is making 1350 moosehide pouches to hold medals won at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C., next month.

"I believe it is so important that the athletes that receive medals and these pouches will take home something from Prince George and the Lheidli T'enneh region," Darcy Dennis with the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation told Daybreak North.

Preparing the hide to make the pouches is a 17-day labour intensive process that involves soaking, cutting and stretching the hide.

"If there's maggots that means it's good to work with, because the maggots help the process. To make it as soft as it is today it's actually rotten fish head oil. That's how you make the softness of the moosehide," he said.

The end result actually smells good, said Dennis, because the hide is smoked with pine cones.

The hide is cut into 10 cm by 25 cm pieces, which are folded in half and sewed together with sinew.

A mix of elders and young people from the Lheidli T'enneh are making the pouches, and anyone is welcome to join them.

Dennis is anxious for the end result.

"Oh my gosh, I'm so ecstatic … we're excited that these athletes that are coming are going to receive these pouches will have it forever and will say in five, 10 years when they're on a world stage that they have those pouches and that they're carrying it proudly."

The medals will also incorporate Lheidli T'enneh culture, with a graphic by artist Jennifer Pighin who won a design contest.

The Lheidli T'enneh is the official host First Nation of the Canada Games — the first host First Nation in the history of the games.

To hear more from Darcy Dennis, click the audio labelled: Lheidli T'enneh First Nation makes moosehide pouches to hold medals from Canada Winter Games.

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