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 Museum Explorer

Birds and beasts in
the Americas

Caribou-skin coat

Height: 115.000 cm

AOA 1963.Am5.1

Caribou-skin coat

From: Labrador or Nouveau Québec
Date: 18th century AD

Caribou are American reindeer whose skin provided the Innu people with clothes, and whose flesh was and still is their main source of meat. This coat was made by an Innu woman from caribou skin, then painted in beautiful patterns. Coats like these were worn by Innu men during ceremonies which they performed before the caribou hunting season. The men would drum, dance and pray to the caribou spirit to make sure they had a successful hunt.

After the hunt, the coat no longer had the power to be used in another ritual, so it was traded with Europeans.