Bill Hillman's 
EduTech Research Project
John Tyman's
INUIT ~ People of the Arctic
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Part 3: Transport Across Country ~ Sleds
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44. Team of huskies ready to move off 
when their lines are untangled. 
Few aspects of life have been changed 
more radically than that of transport. 
Formerly this was powered by human and animal muscle,
but now machines reign supreme. 
Working dog teams are a rare sight today.
45. Huskies staked out in winter.
Instead many of the dogs that remain
are kept really as sentimental reminders of the old days 
-- even as pets 
(though their owners would never use the word!),
but they must be kept outside of town..

46. Spring hunting camp.
These dogs accompanied their owner 
when he went hunting in spring: 
they ran behind the snowmobile and its sled.
However, when his vehicle broke down
he did not harness the dogs:
instead he hitched a ride back to town on another snowmobile,
to collect the spare parts needed for his machine!
47. Unemployed husky.
Most dogs today spend much of the day resting, 
having been made redundant by petrol engines..


48. "Dashboard" of snowmobile.
They have been replaced by "Cats" 
(viz. Arctic Cats!) and other brands 
of motorized toboggans like "Skidoo" and "Yamaha".


49. Snowmobile engine.
These have powerful engines and 
can travel at speeds in excess of 100kph 
-- very much faster than dogs. 
They also start at the push of a button, 
and you don't need to rest them either..

50. Snowmobile tracks.
They run on rubber tracks, with steel teeth 
that grip the surface of the ice, 
even when this is covered with water in spring.
51. Snowmobile at spring camp.
They are steered using skis. 
They can operate at very low temperatures; 
and the engine cover is sometimes 
removed on warm spring days to cool the engine..

52. Reloading sled after stopping for tea.
In winter hunters commonly travel 
during the darker part of the day (using their headlamps)
and save the half-light of mid-day for hunting.
53. Skidoo bogged in soft snow.
In the spring they prefer to travel 
when the sun is low in the sky around midnight, 
as it is colder then and the snow is firmer..

54.  Loaded sleds. 
Snowmobiles can haul much heavier sleds than dogs. 
Mine was the one with the tarp covering it, 
to keep my gear dry when travelling in spring. 
My friend's sled carried his wife and four or five children,
as well as all his gear.
55. Running reapirs.
Snowmobiles have two drawbacks , though. 
One is that if you break down you cannot eat them
the way you can eat dogs to stay alive. 
So you must know how to repair them: 
otherwise you may die alone on the ice..

56. Huskie eating.
The other problem is that you cannot
feed machines off the land as you travel,
in the way you can huskies. 
Instead you must buy the necessary  "food" in town 
and carry it with you.


57. Petrol awaiting loading.
Both petrol and machines cost money, 
so hunters are no longer independent:
they must have a source of income. 
Since there are very few paying jobs in the Arctic,
and the income they once derived from sealskins
dried up following the "Save the Seal Campaign",
those men who still hunt depend mostly on 
their welfare cheque to obtain fuel..


58. Sleds at sealing camp.
Sleds come in various shapes and sizes. 
The one in front was pulled by a snowmobile. 
The narrower one behind was hauled by dogs.
59. Sleds beside house in town.
In the old days sleds here were made from driftwood,
fragments of wrecked whaling ships, 
or fish rolled up in skins and frozen hard. 
Now they are assembled using kits purchased from "the 'Bay"..

60. Underside of sled under construction.
The runners are prefabricated and drilled ready for assembly.


61. Rear of sled under construction.
The cross-pieces were once tied to the runners
using animal sinew: now they use cords purchased from the store.
Nails would be worse than useless: 
moving over uneven ground the sled needs to be able to twist a bit:
and if the sled was nailed together the wood would shatter..

62. Front of sled in use.
In the old days, with dogs, the hunter had to coat his runners
with frozen mud, and resurface them every hour or so. 
Today, with powerful machines and either smooth metal 
or non-stick teflon runners available from the store, 
this is no longer necessary.
63. Rear of sled. 
Metal sheeting is frequently applied to the ends of the runners 
to protect them against damage. 
The "Esky" (to keep tea warm) was tied on loosely .



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