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Nunatsiaq Online: Fancy footwork: a look at boots around the circumpolar world

February 18, 2016 — 

A Nunatsiaq Online reports:

…A walk through the newest exhibition at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum could easily convince you that hunters in the circumpolar world are among the most sophisticated and best-dressed, thanks to the skilled Inuit, Saami and Chukchi seamstresses they partner with.

Art & Innovation: Traditional Arctic Footwear, features a range of circumpolar attires — boots, parkas and tools — that illustrate both the beauty and the science in dressing for an Arctic climate….

From 1970s until the 1990s, University of Manitoba researchers Jill Oakes and Rick Riewe did fieldwork to document traditional boot making in the circumpolar world, including western Canada’s Arctic, western Greenland, coastal Alaska, eastern and western Siberia and Sápmi.

They returned with the riches of the North: sealskin, caribou and reindeer fur, delicate beading and the bone-based tools used to make clothing.

“As one hunter in Arviat explained, his skin clothing was more important than his skidoo or gun,” the researchers recalled.  “Our research focuses on facilitating the sharing of northern peoples’ stories that their clothing tell and documenting diversity throughout the circumpolar region.”



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