Aboriginal Perspectives


Birch Bark Biting

Jessica Wesaquate and Andrea Rogers

"Tansi ... Hello"

Birch bark biting is the art of dentally perforating designs on intricately folded sheets of paper-thin bark. The technique is known to have been practiced by Ojibwa (or Chippewa), Cree and other Algonquian groups who used birchbark extensively in fabricating domestic containers, architectural coverings, canoes and pictographic scrolls. Bark biting was a casual art among Aboriginal women, a means of experimenting with designs that might later be translated into porcupine quill or bead appliqué on bark containers or hide clothing. It was a form of recreation or friendly competition.

birchbark biting

Birch Bark Biting by Rosella Carney

Work Cited:

Elizabeth McLuhan and M. Zoccole, Wigwas: Birch Biting by Angelique Merasty (1983).