From the Collection: Bearpaw Snowshoes

by Kylie Berringer (2020 Summer Student)

These snowshoes, commonly referred to as bearpaw snowshoes, look much different from other snowshoes.  Their frames are much wider, bigger, and more circular than normal snowshoes.  Depending on where the shoes were made, they would sometimes have a tail like the ones on normal snowshoes or would have rounded backs.  

These wider shoes could be packed quite easily and were more efficient if the shoes had to be taken somewhere.  However, they were also much more difficult to walk in because of their wide frame.  Some shoes were also decorated with tassels of fabric so that they could be easily identified, but they were also used to mask the wearers scent, something useful for trappers and hunters.

Did you know?

Painter Frederick Verner was present in at the signing of the North West Angle treaty, (Treaty 3) in 1873. The sketches he made there were the basis for many of his later paintings.