At some time it must have been discovered that lashing the bundle with strips of rawhide onto a slender, crooked tree-trunk with the upward bend towards the front, could make a narrower pack. Where birch grew to a large size, a sheet of the bark would slip over the ground even more easily, if the front end of the bark were curled up. However, birch bark is not easily peeled from the trunk in freezing weather. Sledges with runners were probably not used here by early Indians since they are more suitable on ice than on snow. The white man’s tools and skill were needed for that kind of sled.
With the white man came the use of dogs and sledges, instead of dogs with packs balanced on each side. In this area the dogs had to be hitched in tandem, as the fan-hitch would most certainly have been fouled up around trees and underbrush.
If the Indians here were using toboggans when the white men arrived, it is possible that the idea had been borrowed from the Crees, who had penetrated inland from the Hudson’s Bay area before and after the Peach of Unchagah.
The harness was rawhide, which the dogs would eat. To stop this, it is stated that their back teeth were blunted with rocks. Holding open the mouth of a half-wild dog while banging away at his teeth until they were broken down seems an unlikely sort of exercise for any man!