Does anyone know the process that the indians used to tan skins for robes and tippis. What were the ingredients used to make the skins into leather?
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most used brain tanning and smoke. the brains tanned it and the smoke water proofed and gave it a nice smell.
for the smell as it was for color and water proofing. Google "brain tanning" for information.
The smoke that was made for the waterproofing was willow and water, if that helps. Being native american and having this passed down helps.
Native American peoples were quite ingenious and though brain tanning gets much of the credit for their methods, they weren't that locked in. Many times, clothing was tanned with various methods including urine. How about waking up and making your wife chew your moccasins so they'd be soft and supple after that treatment. I can see that happening today. Rawhide was a prominent fixture and the drums were simply large hides that had had the hair singed off and strung over hollow logs while green. Shields were smoked and offered good protection to some degree from arrows and spears could be deflected by the skin. Everything started out as rawhide. On the plains, the Indians used buffalo fat and brains while in other areas, oak bark was used. The fabled white leather was probably discovered by accident when the leather was kneaded with white clay. This imparted the color. Of some note, moccasin soles were often made of the top tent flaps on tipis as the smoke hardened it and it needed replacing periodically. Nothing but the bellow was wasted. When German tanneries perfected modern tanning, the buffalo became a quick money maker for the white man. Then when Indians couldn't be corralled up on reservations, the U.S. Army was sent in to eliminate the buffalo to either starve the Indians or drive them to reservations where unscrupulous whites sold old and sick cows to Indian agents to feed the people. The golden age of the American Indian ended when the white man arrived. And that's my opinion, but it's shared by many.
yes, and they're still gettin screwed today by the government.