Tanning in the city: Take a glimpse at Dene Nahjo's 3rd urban hide tanning camp

Dene Nahjo's third annual urban hide tanning camp has set up shop in Sambaa K'e Park, take a look at what's going on.

Camp sets up shop at Sambaa K'e Park in downtown Yellowknife, runs from Sept. 17 to 29

Dene Nahjo's urban hide tanning camp opened in Sambe K'e Park on Monday and runs until Sept. 29. (Juanita Taylor/CBC )

If you've been in downtown Yellowknife lately you may have been treated to the sights, sounds and smells of hide tanning.

Dene Nahjo's third annual urban hide tanning camp has set up shop in Samba K'e Park. The camp, peppered with three canvas tents and a 20-feet teepee opened Monday afternoon.

Mandee McDonald, managing director of Dene Nahjo at the urban hide tanning camp in Yellowknife. (Randall McKenzie/CBC )

With the sounds of scraping in the background, it's a chance for people to witness and learn traditional skills from elders and craftspeople.

"It's been going really well," said Mandee McDonald, the managing director of Dene Nahjo.

Students have been visiting the camp to learn about Indigenous culture. (Juanita Taylor/CBC )

She said there has been less foot traffic at the camp this year but more hide tanners, many bringing their own hides.

Around eight tanners were at the camp Friday preparing hides.

About eight tanners were working on hides at the camp on Friday, along with participants of a snowshoe making workshop. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

"There are a lot of people we've worked with over the course of the three years who have an interest in hide tanning who have been coming around to the camps and they're ready for the next level, they're ready to level up," McDonald said.

Two women enjoy a bite to eat in front of a fire at the camp. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

"Our plan for next year is to continue working with all the hide tanners that we've sort of initiated new relationships with and continue to provide more intensive mentorship opportunities for Indigenous people in our community who really want to really get into hide tanning."

Mandee McDonald talks to a group of students. (Juanita Taylor/CBC )

The Aboriginal Sports Circle was also at the camp demonstrating traditional Inuit games and hosting a snowshoe making workshop. They were cleaning caribou hides to make into babiche or the rawhide string that will be used to lace the snowshoes.

Every day during the camp, around 30 students visit the camp to learn about Indigenous culture, McDonald said.

A tanner prepares a hide on Friday. (Juanita Taylor/CBC )

People are welcome to visit the camp in the park next week from 10:00 to 6:00 p.m. between Monday and Saturday. 

With files from Juanita Taylor