Alaska Native/Indigenous People, Athabascan in the Spotlight

Moosehide Tanning with Jessica Denny

Jessica Denny. Photo by Angela Wade

I heard about a moosehide tanning camp in the Ahtna region in September. Jessica “Nanenełnaan” Denny (Ahtna) hosted a moosehide tanning camp with about 13 people in September. I had to find out more about it, so I reached out to Jessica. I admire how Jessica and her network are living and loving our ways of life.

Jessica is the owner of Alaska Leadership Group, a small for-profit organization that creates community and space for sharing traditional knowledge. Check out the interview with Jessica where she shares about how the camp came to be, her influences like Grandma Lena Charlie, how much learning and healing happened at the camp, future plans and much more!

It was amazing to see how everyone came together to either support the camp or attending. They built a strong cohort who plan to return next year. Jessica said, “We are all co-creators of this.” Grandma Lena Charlie told them, ‘If I am still here – I want you to come back.’

2021 Moosehide Tanning Camp. Photo by Angela Wade

Jessica gave some great advice to those who may be considering starting a moosehide tanning camp. She recommends reaching out to see who might be available in your community to teach and share. Ask about how moosehide tanning was practiced in your area. Each community has access to resources. Get a general understanding of tanning a hide and build a foundation. She says there are lots of resources online.

*Cohort – BUILDING A COMMUNITY*

Scraping moosehide. Photo by Deenaalee Chase-Hodgdon
Scraping moosehide. Photos by Deenaalee Chase-Hodgdon
Scraping moosehide. Photo by Deenaalee Chase-Hodgdon

Enaa baasee’ Jessica for sharing about the moosehide tanning camp and building a community. It is inspiring to see community doers stepping up to keep our cultures and traditions alive. I see it is much more than just tanning a hide. I’m sure this rich experience will carry the cohort far into the future in more ways than one. 

Follow Alaska Leadership Group for updates and upcoming events at: https://www.facebook.com/alaskaleadership

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