Melaw Nakehk’o: NWT artist on a moosehide mission

See on Scoop.itNWT News

By MEAGAN WOHLBERG, Northern Journal Reporter

• Tue, Jul 24, 2012


When Dehcho artist Melaw Nakehk’o began running out of tanned moosehide for her sewing and beadwork, she knew the only way to continue on with her traditional artwork was to go out and tan it herself.
“I just thought, if I really want to keep doing this and be able to sustain myself as an artist or be able to make a little bit of money, then I’m going to have to start tanning my own moose hides to have it be really something in my life that I can do.”

That is what she has been doing for the last several months. Spurred by her intense motivation and the help of her family, Nakehk’o has built an outdoor moosehide tanning workshop from scratch and is travelling around the territory gaining knowledge from her “moosehide mentors” (who are obliged by Dene law to teach those seeking to learn) as part of the Golo-Dheh Project, which means smoked moosehide in the south Dehcho Dene dialect.


Sharing the process with the world

In the same vein of mixing media, Nakehk’o has been documenting her journey of learning moosehide tanning with the help of a colleague, documentary filmmaker Lesley Johnson of Yellowknife. While Nakehk’o explores the arduous steps required to produce a finished moosehide, Johnson captures the unfolding narratives with her video camera. At the same time, Nakehk’o is writing stories about her experience and posting photos of the process online on her blog.

“I wanted to document the process and my experience learning because today not a whole lot of people are able to take that amount of time, because people work and have to sustain themselves in this society that we live in,” she said. “And this society just doesn’t work with the Dene lifestyle, to be able to take that much time off of work or be in the bush that long. So I wanted to blog it and document it for people to see that it’s possible. You can do it.”

Nakehk’o said the project also discusses the livelihood of traditional artists


For more on the Golo-Dheh Project, visit Nakehk’o’s blog,

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Information Curation, Communication & Media / Cure d'information, communication et medias

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