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The History of Braintan:    page 2

Native America

Scrappy Bull
'Scrappy Bull' in a buckskin shirt
Buckskin was made and used by all of the culture areas of Native North America, from the fishermen of the rainy northwest coast and the caribou hunters of the tundra, to the farmers of the southwest and eastern woodlands.

Deerskins were the most commonly tanned, worn and utilized skin because of their durability, softness and availability. They were the basic "fabric" of pre-historic times. Other animal skins were also tanned using variations of the brain tanning process, (buffalo, moose, elk, antelope, caribou, bighorn sheep). Even furs were tanned using brains and woodsmoke, though they were handled differently to prevent the hair from slipping out.


Shawnee man in 1826 This Shawnee man was sketched in 1826 by Tardieu L'aine. Notice that his buckskin clothing isn't fringed. Buckskin was used and worn in many styles besides the stereotypical fringed leggings and loincloth.
Most of what we know about traditional brain tanning methods comes from the American Indians. There is an extensive record of their tanning processes, written down by anthropologists, explorers and Indians. For a detailed analyses of these tanning methods, read's online article Brains, Bones & Hotsprings: Native American Deerskin Dressing at the Time of Contact.

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