Mukluks are a soft boot traditionally made of reindeer skin or sealskin

Program teaches youth art of mukluk making

A First Nations artist will be teaching youth the art of mukluk making to reconnect First Nations youth with their culture.

A First Nations artist will be teaching youth the art of mukluk making, as part of a program that seeks to reconnect First Nations youth with their culture in Greater Victoria this week.

As part of the pop up Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot Project,  artist Jamie Gentry will be teaching youth the process of making mukluks and moccasins from making the pattern of the boot to cutting and beading the leather.

Mukluks are a soft boot traditionally made of reindeer skin or sealskin, and were originally worn by aboriginal people in the arctic.

The Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot Project was originally started by Sean McCormick who wanted to keep the art of mukluk making alive by teaching youth how to create them. Since then, the program has opened a number of ‘pop up’ schools across the country, teaching a range of age groups from youth to great-grandmothers to make mukluks.

The first pop up school in British Columbia was at the University of British Columbia last year, where there was a full class. This is the first year the program is expanding to Vancouver Island with the first class in Brentwood Bay this Friday.

“Not only is it an amazing experience to see young people doing something that they’ve seen their grandparents do or their parents doing, it works in so many ways to help build self confidence and build a tangible link to their culture and that’s really amazing,” said Waneek Horn-Miller, director of the storyboot project, adding the program is open to non-indigenous people as well.

“Watching these classes, you had indigenous and non-indigenous people sitting around and joking and helping each other, and making mukluks and moccasins. It really is an interesting form of reconciliation.”

The first class of the six-week mukluk making program will be hosted on Friday, Oct. 21 at the Tribal School (located at the Saanich Adult Education Centre, 7449 West Saanich Rd.) beginning at noon.

For more information visit manitobah.ca.