3 / 2002

South Dakota - Sioux ankleboot with quill and beadwork upper

Since soft sole moccasins wear out quickly in the harsh Plains environment, another style came progressively into use around the middle of the nineteenth century. This was the two-piece "moccasin" which had a flat soft or hard rawhide sole with a soft buckskin upper. It therefore was no longer a moccasin but a shoe. The upper is of one piece with a vertical backseam and is always shaped for right and left. The construction is usually "turnshoe', but "stitschdown" occurs in some cases. The boot above has an additional fringed piece sewn to the instep, while the tongue is cut in one piece with the upper. The flattened quills of the porcupine, dyed with colours extracted from roots, berries and mosses, together with Venetian glass beads are secured to the hide with sinew thread. Red-dyed horsehair tassels fixed in tin cones were added to the tongue.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland