Main content

Hide Tanning Workshop with Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines, Jr.

Event date: Sunday, March 19, 2023
— Events

Sunday, March 19th, 9am-4pm, Petersham/Nichewaug

This workshop welcomes non-Indigenous people to learn the Eastern Woodlands Indigenous process of "brain tanning" a deer hide. This full day experience will guide folks through hands-on practice with the different stages of hide tanning. While this process cannot be completed in a single day, participants will leave with their hide and the knowledge to finish the process on their own.

An important component of this workshop is community, getting to know each other, sharing questions and experiences around tanning, and what it means to be in relationship with our animal relatives, our food and what we wear. Bonus maple sap-boiling activity during lunch - happy spring!

Beyond the basic step-by-step techniques of tanning, we’ll also learn more about the importance of supporting Indigenous sovereignty and promoting Indigenous cultural reclamation.

This workshop will be led by Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines, Jr., a citizen of the Nipmuc people. He serves as a cultural steward for his Tribe, is a father, public speaker, traditional dancer, Indigenous Activist, carpenter by trade and educator. Andre is a recovery sponsor and integrated life coach for those in need. Andre's work focuses on bringing traditional knowledge back to Indigenous Peoples, such as traditional brain tanning, regalia making, paddle crafting and traditional structure building. This work is focused on cultural revitalization and preservation. Andre's work is grounded in restoring balance between everyday life and traditional values while navigating the colonial systems we live in. He considers family, culture, and traditions to be the three most important aspects of life. He is the creative director at


To register, e-mail Jessica at bryant@

$300 registration includes snacks, lunch, maple sap boiling, deer hide, and compensation to both the cultural steward and his mentor for their time.


This workshop is a space for non-Indigenous people to learn the craft and culture of Indigenous hide tanning. Indigenous community members are welcome to register for the workshop on Saturday 3/18, 9am-4pm, at