Tag Archives: tumpline


The tumpline, also called a burden strap, was used by natives to carry items and to drag loads.  There are a reasonable number of northern tumplines in collections in the US, Canada, and Europe.  From written descriptions and a few images, most notably one of von Reck’s images (Hvidt, Kristian, ed.  Von Reck’s Voyage; Drawings and Journal of Philip Georg Friedrich von Reck.  Savannah, GA: Beehive Press, 1990) – available here, it’s apparent that similar items were being used in the south. The existing tumplines with native provenance seem to have all been twined in … Read More

Where can I find out about making tumplines?

I have had several people ask me how to find more info about making tumplines lately. If you want to weave a native tumpline there are two or three techniques you need to learn: twining the brow band, fingerweaving the straps, and possibly braiding the ties (you can fingerweave them too). The problem is there’s not a single set of instructions for all of this. I would start with this page I wrote for prisoner ties (in many ways a tumpline of sorts). Then learn to twine straps and fingerweave the ties (oblique weave is … Read More

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Tips on constructing prisoner ties/halters

A prisoner halter is very similar in construction to a tumpline, using box braiding on the ties rather than fingerweaving and flat braiding. I already have a tumpline page up describing the use and history here. However, I don’t discuss making one on that page, and have been asked about them and prisoner ties or halters quite a few times, either online or at events where I’m using one of those I’ve made (see the photo below). There are people much more skilled than I working on books right now, so I’m not going to … Read More

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