Innu (Naskapi) artist’s Hunting coat

Meet the Artists of Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

A white coat with red details.

Innu (Naskapi) artist, Hunting coat, ca. 1750, caribou hide and pigment, Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Robert J. Ulrich Works of Art Purchase Fund, 2012.27. Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Artist’s Language

We do not yet have a Native-language translation of this text.


In the 1700s, in the far reaches of northern Labrador (present-day Canada), Innu (Naskapi) men dressed up in elegant, tailored coats like this one to communicate with caribou. The coats, made of creamy white caribou hide and elaborately decorated, pleased Papakassik, an Innu holy being, and mesmerized the animals. Drawn to the coat made especially for it, the caribou would give its life to the hunter, revealing the reciprocity, kinship, and respect between animals and human beings.