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Tuesday June 9 2015 9 By DALI CARMICHAEL The familiar smell of campre smoke wafted over the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre NLMCC in Fort Smith over the past two weeks as Smiths Landing First Nation SLFN played host to a spring moosehide tanning camp. Instead of running the programing them- selves SLFN invited a trio of tanners from Fond Du Lac Sask. to teach interested locals how they carry out the traditional activity. Lena Adam her husband Lawrence and his cousin Elizabeth Marten spent almost two weeks in Smith for the tanning demon- stration. The last time the Adams were in Fort Smith was about a decade ago when they ran a similar program with inmates at the correctional facility. Since then they have traveled all over the prairie provinces and British Columbia sharing their skills. For years the Adams have been making theirlivingastrappersinthebushinnorthern Saskatchewan.NowLawrenceisgettingonin age and working as a taxi driver in the area but they still enjoy putting on the workshops. UsfromtheAthabascaregionwedothings using a different technique Lawrence said. Scrapingisdifferentandsmokingisdifferent. Instead of using moose brains to soften the hide following the labour-intensive eshing hair-removal and soaking - as is traditional for many northern First Nations - they smooth a thin layer of oatmeal lard and soap mixture over the hide before hang- ing it above a re to dry. The scraping and soaking process is done severaltimesafterthattogetthehidesmooth thin and easy to work with. When it comes time to tan the hide a wide but low-burning re conned by a large pot is ignited. The hide is then strung up to thin logs arranged perched against one another as they would be in a tipi. Instead of using rotten spruce chips to fuel the smoky re the visiting troupe gathers and burns moss. Ac- cording to them it is a low-risk low-burning alternative that is relatively easy to gather. I was raised in the bush and I learned from my parents and some of the old ladies said Lena. I can use it to make moccasins gloves jackets wallets you name it. In past tanning workshops hosted at the NLMCC groups of tanners signed on for two weeks of intensive labour carried out after quitting time during the workweek and from dusk until dawn over the weekends - making for especially long days as the time of the midnight summer sun approaches. Low turnout rates for this particular ses- sion prompted SLFN to call on their own to complete the project. From 10 a.m. until about 5 p.m. the group toiled on the hides. At that time those who had signed up for the activity would show up to scrape tan and clean until about 7 p.m. At the end of the course the hide was re- turned in its completed form to SLFN to be used by the membership for sewing projects. In addition to the course SLFN simulta- neously held a culture camp for the com- munity on May 30. Dry meat and sh were hung from raf- ters over a small re enclosed in a tent on- site. Outdoors local artists showed off their moosehide wares and visitors were invited to learn about the tanning process and try their hand at scraping. As a parting gift Lawrence made a bone- scraper to be used in future camps at the museum. Fort Smith museum teams up with First Nation for tanning camp with Fond du Lac flaire ARTS CULTURE TRADITIONAL SKILLS PhotosDaliCarmichael Barb Mercredi centre and Mary Schaefer scrape a hide under the watchful eye of instructor Lawrence Adam of Fond Du Lac Sask. Instructor Lena Adam wrings out a soaked moosehide. The hides were soaked and scraped numerous times to soften them. Members of the Smiths Landing First Nation and residents of Fort Smith take turns stretching the moosehide on Saturday as instructor Lawrence Adam gives pointers. The public was welcome to come to the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre on the weekend to make dry meat tan hides and work with beaver pelts.