In North America animal skin hides were an overabundant, constantly replenishable raw material resource for Native American manipulation. The technical processes used to create a hide are elaborate and time consuming. Raw animal skins when prepared and treated allow a myriad of uses, providing warmth and protection against the elements of North America. In North America, women often executed the rigorous labour of hide tanning. Removal of animal hair, preparation, tanning, and smoothing hides took considerable effort. Expert hidework produces buttery-soft, smooth skins as well as rough, stiff, dry rawhide used to create parfleches (rigid rawhide containers). Hides remained valuable commodities along with the skins and pelts of other fur bearing animals, such as the beaver and fox. European fashion was dependent on North American skins and hides.
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