Traditional Indigenous footwear can tell many stories, through history, design, and decoration. The moccasin has seen many incarnations over centuries of wear.
Likewise, in the tradition of oral storytelling among Indigenous tribes, the legend of Hiawatha has many versions.
Hiawatha is the fabled peace chief of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). In some tales, he is presented as a mythical or mystical figure; in others, a follower and helpmeet of the Great Peacemaker.
His story takes place during the pre-colonial blood feuds, or mourning wars. Devastated by the loss of his wife and daughters, Hiawatha roamed the lands of the Haudenosawnee in a deep state of grief.
According to legend, Hiawatha eventually encountered the Great Peacemaker, who taught him a ceremony of condolence to heal his sorrow and restore him to health and harmony. They traveled together to teach peace to battling tribes, eventually overcoming the great warrior chief, Atotarho, and uniting the Five Nations - Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca - into a confederacy known as the Iroquois League. The exact dates of these pacts are unknown, but they are believed to be the world’s earliest democratic peace treaty.
In the spirit of this legendary figure, Hiawatha is the name Bastien Industries has chosen for its line of authentic moose hide moccasins. Just as Hiawatha’s story exists in many forms, so, too, have moccasins evolved over the course of generations.
Bastien Industries is an Indigenous-owned manufacturer based on the Huron-Wendat Reservation in Quebec, Canada. Their fine leather goods are handcrafted using time-honored materials and techniques to create traditional moccasins for the modern age.
Bastien’s Hiawatha Mocs for women are made with supple, genuine moose hide in maple brown for a fit that naturally conforms to your feet. Embellished with a collar of fringe, hand- stitched vamp, and exquisite beadwork, their classic look is versatile with a simple elegance. The padded footbed and rubber outsole add comfort and convenience, easily slipping on or off. Adjustable rawhide laces provide a functional accent.
Authentic moccasins bring to mind an ancient heritage rich with stories like that of Hiawatha’s. Wearing something crafted with care by skilled Indigenous artisans is a privilege and a joy.
Hiawatha Moose Hide Moccasins are available in Women’s sizes 5-10. https://www.leather-moccasins.com/products/womens-rubber-sole-beaded-fringed-moosehide-leather-moccasins