Lena Moon is a Tlingit artist who was born and raised by her grandparents (who were Tlingit and Southern Tutchone) in the Teslin/Johnson's Crossing area. She loves to sew.
Lena was taught by her grandmother to sew and tan moose skin. She began by learning to pick matching colours out of mixed beads and still has the first tiny slipper top that she made. Her grandmother taught her the importance of taking time and doing things properly, making her take things out and sew them again as she learned. Once she started, she always wanted to sew, even when her grandmother had other things that needed to be done. She remembers having a little tent on the side of the highway where her family used to sell sewing to travellers.
As years went by she began helping to tan skins, something her family did as an annual gathering in the spring. Eventually she learned how to make the tanning soap and how to smoke hides. It's important to know exactly how to choose the right wood and to make the fire.
Lena makes a variety of products, including jackets, slippers, vests, mukluks and fur hats, with her own home-tanned moose or caribou hides. She sews whatever comes to her mind, using patterns that were handed down from her great grandmother, her mother and aunts. Her beaded designs have also come down through the family; some were drawn freehand by her grandfather and beaded by her grandmother. She is now handing down her own patterns and designs to her daughter who sews as well.
Lena and her family have won many prizes throughout the years for their sewing. Lena will teach whomever wants to learn.
Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association
1-1109 Front Street (White Pass Building)
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A-5G4