Community News

“Deerfoot” Moccs by CRNY Artist Cliff Redeye

These moccasins (pictured below) made by Good Medicine Creatives and CRNY artist Clifford Redeye III
(@redeyeleatherco) were made to go along with the Seneca Nation Fall Fest theme: The year of the Athlete. They are made from bison hide and deer hide lace. The images are carved in vegetable tanned leather.

Louis “Deerfoot” Bennett was Seneca from the Cattaraugus Territory. He was known internationally throughout the mid 1800’s as a world record holding long distance runner.

Deerfoot won his first race in 1856 at the Erie County fair, running five miles in 25 minutes.

A promoter heard of Deerfoot and booked him on a European tour, that lasted 20 months where he became a world record holder in the 10 and 12 mile races.

He ran most of his races shirtless wearing a feather breach cloth around his waist, a headband with one eagle feather around his head, and preferred to wear his moccasins instead of track spikes.

He became so popular that even royalty attended the races to see him compete.

Some races had up to 15,000 people in attendance.

Known as a soft spoken and humble man by his friends, he was a different man on the track. Often he would infuriate his competitors slowing down to stay just ahead of them and then speeding up and winning the race. His running with an inconsistent pace was unheard of and would often mess up the pace of the other runners. Deer foot was said to never have had a boring race and there are even stories of him out running a horse.

Thank you to the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum for access to the moccasin collection and providing information on Louis “Deerfoot” Bennett.