Wall hanging of appliquéd sealskin on cloth made by Mina Napartuk with visual stories showing the steps in making kamiks: hunting, scraping and sewing. The syllabics explain the process of making a pair of kamiks and the six characters in the extreme upper right corner are Mina's signature.
Wool felt, sealskin, cotton thread, cotton backing, nylon Velcro
Kuujjuarapik, Quebec
BSM P79.272

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Our Boots

An Inuit Woman's Art

Kamiks are a part of our identity; they are part of our culture and environment. Kamiks are a form of Inuit art made by women.
Sarah Ovatuatia Philip, 1995

The Canadian Arctic combines a landscape of severe beauty with one of the harshest winter climates in the world, but the native inhabitants have learned to live in harmony with their environment. Inuit women use the land's resources to create warm clothing and footwear whose artistry depicts their cultural diversity. Without skin boots and the comprehensive skills of the women who make them, survival would be impossible, even today. But boot making has cultural significance, too. Inuit women use boots as a medium to pass on traditional knowledge, display group affiliation and communicate pride in their skills.