Material Culture

Like the first Amerindian groups to travel the North American continent, for generations the Innu have looked to nature to satisfy their material needs. In their immediate environment they found answers to the challenges of making clothing, building shelters, designing tools and all kinds of objects used for transportation, hunting and fishing, or recreation.

Their tools were mostly made from stone. Many of the region's archaeological sites have produced arrowheads, lances and harpoons, axes, adzes, scrapers, strikers, etc., which attest to this thousand-year-old technology. However, the passage of time has made it impossible to conserve many of their objects made of wood, antlers or leather, with the exception of rare tools made of bone, such as scrapers and punches, found at a few sites.

The material of choice for clothing was animal leather, especially caribou and seal. Jackets, capes, mitts, moccasins, boots and other garments were also made from this material.The structure of their tents and shelters was made from poles, paper birch bark, (Betula papyfera), coniferous branches or animal hides, as can be seen in old illustrations and photographs from the end of the 19th century.

Snowshoes were made from birch wood and rawhide (strips of un-tanned leather from caribou or moose hides). Canoes were a skillful assembly of ribs and bark strips taken from birches, held together with cord made from roots. Sleds were also made of wood, as were snow shovels, oars and some traps.

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