Indigenous Peoples from across the plains would harvest animals for food and use the skin to create useful objects.



The most widely used natural material was rawhide; the result of tanning animal skins by fleshing and removing the hair by scraping. The word parfleche came from French Fur traders and it meant “pare” for prepared and “fleche” for arrow. Rawhide is so strong and durable, it could be used to create drums, rattles, protective shields, or useful containers for transporting food and other goods, known as parfleche bags.

Parfleche bags were often decorated using coloured pigments made from minerals such as ochre or plant and animal substances.

Students will learn how to create a miniature reproduction of a traditional rawhide parfleche bag and decorate it with their choice of colours and symbols.

Learning outcomes:

Students will:

  • Learn why it is so important to respectfully gather natural materials from the land so as not to destroy nature’s balance and bring about the potential extinction of a species. Wherever possible students use man-made, recycled, or reused materials to create their art piece.

Curriculum Links:

  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit: Indigenous identities, connections, expressions, preservation, protocol, Elder and Knowledge Keeper oral histories and land-based learning.
  • Art: Develop realistic treatments and refine forms.
  • Social: Belonging and Connecting, Canada’s Dynamic Communities
  • Science: Colours, Animals, Seasons
  • Math: Pattern, repetition, and symmetry

In-School Field Trip:

Due to the amount of supplies required for our Indigenous Visual Art programs, we require you to book two or three classes of the same program on the same day.

Kindly email or call 780 459 1163 for more information regarding booking an in-school field trip.

Preparation for In-School Field Trip:

We require a large room with paper-covered tables and access to a sink for the whole day if offering more than one in-school field trip in a day.  Your instructor will arrive 30 minutes early to set up the room and prepare for the field trip start time indicated on your confirmation letter.  Parent volunteers are required to assist instructors with handing out supplies and clean up.

In-School Fees:

  • $9 per student (minimum class fee based on 16 students)
  • Added travel fee of $65 for St. Albert and $95 for Edmonton (Please request a quote for all outlying areas)

Studio Fees:

  • $9 per student (minimum class fee based on 16 students)


We’ll send an invoice to your school within one month—please don’t bring your payment to the workshop.

Please make cheques payable to Arts and Heritage St. Albert. Include invoice numbers and mail to:
Arts and Heritage St. Albert, Suite #200
20 Perron Street
St. Albert, AB  T8N 1E4

For account inquiries, contact us at 780-459-1163 or

Information and Policies


Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Curriculum Link

Art, Creative Expression, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Science, Social Studies


In-school field trip, Visual Arts Studios, St. Albert Place