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Making mukluks a way to connect with heritage for women in Lab West


For the past six weeks, a group of women in Lab City have been learning how to make sealskin mukluks at the Aboriginal Service Centre. Sherry Penney, executive operations officer for the centre, is the one teaching the course, even though she is new to the experience herself.

A group of local women learned how to make sealskin mukluks over the last two months at the Aboriginal Service Centre, as a way to learn a skill and learn more about their indigenous heritage.

She said she learned how to make them at a course in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and got many compliments about them around town.

“When other people saw them, they said ‘oh when are we going to do this in the centre? I said we don't have an instructor and people said why don't you do it?” she said. “So this is how it originated and we didn't post or anything saying we're going to do this because I had so many people telling me to call them when I was doing it.”

She said she decided to teach the course herself because anything she knows she is willing to share with anyone and ‘if they're crazy enough to do it with me we’ll do it.’ The experience has been a learning one for her as well.

“I'm still learning and I'm learning as I go, I only did one adult pair before,” she said. “It's a learning experience and it's a way of keeping our culture alive. Sometimes we feel like our culture is being lost but anything that I know I'd like to show someone else and I hope they in turn will show someone else.”

Thirteen people were in her class on how to make the mukluks, over a six-week course, three hours a week. They use sealskin and moose hide and add beading and embroidery to the mukluks. She said they have all learned about how to make them and more about their culture. There has been so much negative news about indigenous people over the years, Penney said, they just want to get something positive out there.

“I say for every negative we want to get two positives so we're trying to be more positive and get messages out there about our culture, about indigenous people, we want to share that,” she said.

 

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