Marguerite Slash's Sewing Machine

3 banner sewing machine

This sewing machine was ordered from the T. Eaton Company about 1902-3.  It was shipped by train from Edmonton or Calgary and then brought to Quesnel by pack horse.  It belonged to Marguerite’s mother.   Marguerite was born in June 1894. Her father was Jimmy Toosie, also known as Blackwater Jimmy, the chief of the Blackwater Band.   When she was a young girl, she and her mother worked the family trap line and her father, who was in ill health, stayed home with her younger sisters and brother.   Her mother died when she was still young and she went to work as a cook at the Blackwater Inn.  She married a man named Stanislaus and had one son, William, who died at the age of 21.    In November 1941 she married Johnny Slash, a widower with 5 children.  They ranched in the Blackwater Region. 

Marguerite was knowledgeable about the medicinal use of native plants and was generous in providing cures to her community.  In 1981 she participated in a delegation to Ottawa and to the United Nations in New York to insure that Aboriginal rights were included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  In her later years, after the death of her second husband, Marguerite lived independently in a small house on the property of Gertie and Terry Williams.     

Marguerite used the sewing machine to make most of her clothes, patchwork quilts and to sew buckskin gloves, jackets and moccasins.  She made her last pair of gloves in 1989 at age 95, a few months before her death. There are several samples of her leatherwork on display in the "Footprints in Stone Exhibit" at our museum.