Meet Shauna White Bear, moccasin maker

Pairs of moccasins created by White Bear Moccasins, a Native-owned company based in Bozeman.

Courtesy Chloe Nostrant

When Shauna White Bear started working in retail at Carter’s Boots and Repair in Bozeman, she was fascinated by the happenings in the back of the store. Behind the scenes, men would repair, polish and resole shoes.

“The guys,” as White Bear calls them, ultimately taught her how to repair shoes, but “simple repairs weren’t my thing,” White Bear said.

Instead, White Bear wanted to make things. When her boyfriend at the time wanted a pair of hunting moccasins, White Bear thought, “Why don’t I give it a go?”

White Bear found some bison leather and a pattern and made her first pair. White Bear said her then-boyfriend didn’t seem to appreciate the gift. They broke up soon after, but White Bear’s passion for moccasin making remained.

It didn’t take long for White Bear to become consumed by moccasins. She wanted to perfect her craft so each pair was better than the last.

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