Bill Hillman's 
EduTech Research Project
John Tyman's
INUIT ~ People of the Arctic
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Part 2: Summer Clothing
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 30. In summer, sealskin replaced caribou fur. 
Since seals are kept warm by their blubber rather than
their fur, their hides are nowhere near as warm. 
The seal is simply dragged into the kitchen and 
allowed to thaw before its skin is opened up at the belly.
31. The skin is then cut away carefuly from the blubber.


 32. Next it is scraped using an ulu, 
to remove most of the remaining blubber.
33. It is then washed, and subsequently reworked 
with a scraper to dislodge any parasites etc, and ....

 34. Hung up to drain beside the water storage tank in the laundry, 
before being pegged out in the sun to dry.


35. Because of the work load involved in their preparation, 
with five or six days of chewing required per parka to soften the skins
before they can be cut and sewn, few women wear sealskins today
(as store-bought gear is adequate for summer).
These trousers were made for a well-loved son, 
but the Donald Duck braces point to the changes underway 
-- for clothing today is usually a mix of old and new..

 36. These same sealskin trousers are worn here 
with a track-suit top and rubber boots from the store.
Clifford's mother wears traditional sealskin kamiks 
but her parka, though home-made, was fashioned from store-bought fabrics: 
only the fur trim came from the local area.


37. Waterproof kamiks for summer 
are sometimes still made from sealskin
(with the hair scraped off to provide no avenue for water to penetrate), 
sewn together using animal sinew (which shrinks when wet) 
using stitching that catches the surface of the skin 
but does not make a hole in it. 
The soles are made usually from tougher bearded seal 
and the uppers from the skin of the dominant ringed seal. 
For a more striking appearance the skins may be bleached in the sun..

38. In this case the clothing all came from the store 
(the ubiquitous jeans included) though the young girl's parka 
would have been sewn up at home on a machine. 
The mitts (removed temporarily) are tied to a harness.
39. Woollen sweaters are sometime knitted at home
but more often purchased ready-made.


40. Likewise thigh-length rubber waders and the Walkman radios 
which are a common fashion accessory today...


41. Together with army surplus camouflage trousers.
Clearly designed for a different environment 
they stand out somewhat in snow (though this can be an asset 
if you are on your own and someone is looking for you!) 
His expensive rubber boots, lined with felt, 
are useable in spring but mine, though advertised as winter wear, 
were quickly exchanged for caribou skin kamiks 
when the temperature dropped to minus 50..

42. Wolves are included in the CITES list of protected species
but they are common enough here.
This one, killed in winter, was buried under snow till spring, 
then uncovered and skinned.
43. The pelt was stretched and nailed 
on a sheet of plywood till dry and then taken home.


44. Wolf fur is most commonly used
to trim the hoods of the parkas worn by women.


45. Polar bears are protected but culled to control their numbers. 
You need a permit to kill one 
and only a limited number are issued each year.
The bear is typically skinned immediately 
and the pelt (and the meat) taken home.
Scraping it clean is a family project, 
with the hunter's wife and mother 
spread out on the kitchen floor between the stove and the frig..

46. The claws are cleaned 
but left attached to the skin, which is then ...
47. Washed in the family's bath-tub before being dragged around
in the snow behind a snowmobile (presumably to polish it up).

48. It is then stretched on a heavy timber frame, 
sprinkled with salt to help cure it, 
and whitened where necessary using a little flour,....
49. Before being hung up to dry for two weeks.
This was a large bear and its frame took up 
most of the living room over Christmas..

50. It was then taken to the local office of the Department of Renewable Resources 
where the hunter received a down payment of $2,000 prior to its sale by auction in Vancouver. 
Since the Save the Seal Campaign and othert Animal Rights initiatives 
Polar bear skins are almost the only pelts the Inuit can sell today. 
In the past bear skins were used for winter clothing (trousers mostly).

Dr. John Tyman
I. Environment:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
II. Food Sources: 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
III: Clothing/Shelter:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
IV. Family: 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
V. Community:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Text, photos and recordings by John Tyman
Intended for Educational Use Only.
Copyright Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, 2010.
Contact Dr. John Tyman for more information regarding licensing.

Photo processing, Web page layout, and formatting by
William Hillman | www.hillmanweb.com
Assistant Professor ~ Faculty of Education ~ Brandon University ~ Brandon, Manitoba ~ Canada