Bill Hillman's 
EduTech Research Project
John Tyman's
INUIT ~ People of the Arctic
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Part 5: Crafts ~ Communications ~ Entertainment Media
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Traditional Crafts

77. Raw materials outside carver's house.
In the old days most of the creative energy of the Inuit
was expended in the production of items essential to their survival
-- like clothes (bascically functional but with a touch of decoration)
and tools (which were also embellished slightly). 
Today, though, creative gifts which had limited expression 
in the past have been redirected, using local materials--
caribou antlers and soapstone especially.
78. Whale bone on work bench.
The old whale bones found around some former settlements 
are also much in demand, but less readily available.


79. Goose being shaped.
Power tools have replaced the old knives; and, 
since they are often both noisy and dusty, 
the initial "carving" is done outside.
80. Polishing carving using electric grinder, 
lamp and magnifier.
Items are then finished off inside on the kitchen table, and ....

81. Flight of geese ready for market.
Then assembled before before sold to "the 'Bay" or the Co-Op
(for resale usually at a much higher price in Southern Canada).
82.  Initial shaping of soapstone.
The same sequence applies to work with soapstone. 
The artist, after studying the rock, will release the animal 
he sees within it -- in the manner of sculptors worldwide..

83.  Grinder and soapstone.
After shaping with a power saw,
the subject is then trimmed using a grinder (with a selection of bits) 
before it is finished off indoors.


84.  Items from locked store at "the 'Bay." 
The finished works of the best known carvers in town 
can fetch between three and five thousand dollars. 
A recent flood of mythological creatures (half man & half beast) 
should not be interpreted as a sign of the recovery of shamanism,
however: instead it reflects customer preference
in Southern Canada and the United States.

85.  Inuit dolls. 
The giftedness of the women 
is most obvious from the clothes they make,
but the simple toys they made for their own children in the past 
are matched by the dolls they sell to the Co-Op for southern markets.

Communications and Entertainment Media

86. Radio telephone control station. 
The problem of social isolation here has been overcome 
in large part by means of radio telephones --
as Arctic settlements are too widely spaced to justify land lines.
87. Four-year old customer. 
In winter now you can even ring the child next door 
and visit by way of the phone,
instead of going outside in the cold!.

88. Satellite dish.
TV was similarly received by satellite, 
five channels in fact -- 
4 from the United States and one from Canada!


89. TV addicts.
Children are exposed to programming
from the world to the south.
There are a few programs produced in the Arctic by Inuit, 
and broadcast by the CBC, but the language and values 
of most shows they will watch
(including "soaps" from Australia, England, the US and Canada)
will be alien to their tradition..

90. Child waking late for school.
As watches have little meaning and
few parents worry about the passing of the hours, 
children commonly watch TV till they drop -- 
and wake up late for school the next morning.
91. Videos for rent.
Videos are available from both "the 'Bay" and the Co-Op. 
The range of subjects is reasonably wide,
but Rambo-type shows are much in demand from families with boys..

92. VCRs in our living room.
And most homes today have one or more video recorders.
In our house they had machines for both formats -- VHS and BETA.
93. Local radio "station".
In the case of radio, there was a room at the hamlet office
from which broadcasts were slotted into 
CBC programming for a couple of hours or so daily..

94. Record library at radio station.
There was a library of records (esp. country and western) 
used in responding to local requests.


95. Announcer's desk.
And there were a host of community notices broadcast daily 
-- summoning people to the housing commission to pay their rent,
or reminding individuals of their appointments 
with visiting doctors at the medical station..

96. Radio bingo machine. 
There was a bingo game, too, 
in which numbers were broadcast daily.
97. Video game in living room.
Pin ball machines and video games are popular 
with young people at the Drop In Centre 
(and we even had an old one in our house)..

98. Record collection. 
Teenagers usually had collections of albums and CDs
in their house in town.
99. Walkman at camp. 
And many young people brought music 
with them in summer..

100. Hunter at rest.
The impact of electronic media on lifestyle is probably
no greater among the Inuit than it is elsewhere in Canada; but it is more obvious.
This young man is watching a program on hunting polar bears
-- which he does no longer. He loves fishing in summer,
but during cold weather he prefers to stay indoors and watch TV!



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