New Hampshire woman looks to reunite traditional parkas with seamstress

·2 min read
 (Submitted by Robin Saunders. - image credit)
(Submitted by Robin Saunders. - image credit)

An estate sale can be a treasure trove, and Robin Saunders found some treasure at a sale in her home state of New Hampshire: three traditional handmade parkas.

Now she's trying to reunite the parkas with the people who made them.

A year ago, she saw a sign for an estate sale in a barn.

"I noticed in the very back these three beautiful parkas that were really works of art," she said.

Sanders has been to Yellowknife before and recognized the "distinctive" parkas as being from the North.

The parkas are lined with sheepskin and are sized for two adults and one child.
The parkas are lined with sheepskin and are sized for two adults and one child.(Submitted by Robin Saunders.)

"I immediately knew where they came from but I didn't know who the owners were," Sanders said.

The largest parka is brown with sheepskin inside and wolverine on the hood, another is blue with floral ribbon, and a third is pink and sized for a child.

"I kept them for a year before I realized they really belonged back home where they originally had been made," she said.

Sanders lived on the Zuni reservation in New Mexico, which reinforced the importance of returning cultural items to their original owners.

"I truly think that these things that represent culture belong with the Indigenous person that created them and appreciate them and know their value," she said.

Sanders is part of the Arctic Sewing Facebook group, which she joined out of curiosity about working with hides and the knowledge seamstresses hold.

That's where she posted the parkas in hopes of reuniting them with the seamstress who made them.

"I said, 'Can anybody tell me about these and what should I do with these?' and there was a big outpouring," she said.

"I'm hoping that at some point someone will come back and say, 'Yes, I found the person that was the seamstress,' but if that does not happen I certainly will find a way to donate them," she said.