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Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Native American - Northeast and Southeast Woodland
Native American
Shoes ➔ Moccasins

This reproduction pair of moccasins feature quilled designs of black, white, and orange. 

Moccasins are a type of shoe traditionally worn by Native Americans. They can be decorated with colorful beads and patterns and are commonly made out of deer, elk, or buffalo skins. Men, women, and children wore them for warmth and protection and, prior to contact with Europeans, they were often decorated with porcupine quills. After contact, they were decorated with items such as metal bells to make them more personal to the owner. 

Moccasins continue to be a popular form of footwear and are often worn during ceremonies and festivals. 
1995 – 1996
Brain Tanned Smoked Moosehide, Thread, Porcupine Quill
3.25" h 3.5" w 8.5" d
Current Location Status:
Education Program
Purchased With Funds From Friends Of The Public Museum Docentry League

Discover: The First People of This Place (Grades 4-8) (October 14 2019)

Long before Europeans came to Michigan, Grand Rapids was the site of a Native American village. Native American villages along the Grand River would have looked very different from our present city of Grand Rapids. The First People of this Place program will discuss three Native American tribes of the Great Lakes region--Odawa (Ottawa), Ojibwe (Chippewa) and Bode'wadmi (Potawatomi). Together, these peoples form the tribes of the Three Fires and are collectively called the Anishinabek. Students will be introduced to traditional life ways, the respected role of elders, and storytelling. Program activities allow students to learn history firsthand by handling artifacts, participating in traditional children’s games, and listening to Anishinabe stories.


  • Students will be able to explain who the first inhabitants of Michigan were and how long humans have inhabited Michigan.
  • Students will be able to describe how the clothing, food, shelter, and technology of Michigan’s Native Americans have evolved through time.
  • Students will analyze examples of traditional and modern Anishinabe culture present in exhibit areas and in primary sources.

Curriculum Connections:

  • Michigan K-12 Social Studies Standards: H1 The World in Temporal Terms Historical Habits of Mind, H2 Living and Working Together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago, H3 The History of Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, G2 Places and Regions, G4 Human Systems, G5 Environment and Society, P1 Reading and Communication, P2 Inquiry Research and Analysis
  • ELA Common Core Standards for Reading
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations

Discovery Kit: Anishinabe Culture (October 25 2019)
Discovery Kits include a variety of artifacts and specimens from the Museum’s Collection that allow students to investigate global and local objects. The Collections support the Museum’s mission of inspiring curiosity and discovery around science, history, and culture. Each kit includes objects from the Museums archives, helpful resources and suggested activities. Discovery Kits are a great way for teachers to incorporate primary source and object-based learning into the classroom or as a way to prepare for or extend a Museum visit.

Virtual Discovery Kit: Anishinabe Culture (April 2020)
Learn how the Anishinabek have lived alongside the natural world through a variety of artifacts that tell the story of the first people of this place.
Jan Zender

Rochelle Dale

Jan Zender

Rochelle Dale