ME987.154.1 | Parka

May Haqpi
Central Arctic
Inuit: Kivalliq Inuit (Qaernermiut)
1987, 20th century
Caribou fur, natural and synthetic sinew, cotton cord
99 x 128 cm
Purchased from Mrs. Jill Oakes
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Parka (7)
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Keys to History

This contemporary parka has some features that differ from the traditional and contemporary styles of the Kivalliq (Copper Inuit) and are more akin to their neighbours the Kilusiktormiut. The Inuit, formerly a nomadic people, have settled for some decades in communities throughout the Arctic. Hunting and trapping continues to be central to their subsistence activities, alongside the wage economy. Living and working in heated homes and offices has eliminated the need to wear fur clothing indoors. In winter, however, individuals who expect to be out on the land for long periods hunting, conducting scientific research or when the weather deteriorates will don fur clothing either in two layers or in combination with fabric apparel on the inside.

Although outsiders brought new goods such as duffle or ready-made garb, these items brought about no lasting change to the traditional principles of clothing construction used across the Arctic. Seamstresses, knowing the superiority of their clothing to fulfil their requirements, selected those features of southerners' apparel that suited their purposes. The greatest influences on styles today seem to come from exchanges between Inuit groups and from visiting Inuit families who introduce their own clothing styles and methods to other groups.

  • What

    This qulittuq (man's parka) for winter wear is made from thick caribou skins gathered in the fall and is hand-sewn with sinew. The pattern is contemporary and differs from the traditional style in some minor ways; for example, it no longer has the long narrow akuq (tail) or the many-pieced hood and sleeves. The appearance of this qulittuq is one of luxurious elegance.

  • Where

    This parka, and matching trousers and mittens (not shown), originates with two groups of the Kivalliq: the Pallirmiut, who live around Arviat (Eskimo Point), and the Qaernermiut, who live inland in the vicinity of Qamanittuaq (Baker Lake).

  • When

    The parka, as well as a matching pair of trousers and mittens that are not shown, was sewn in about 1987.

  • Who

    The qulittuq was made by May Haqpi of Qamanittuaq. This parka belongs to an outfit that includes trousers, made by Pipitu Kurok of Kangiqliniq, and mittens, sewn by Ulayok Kaviok of Arviat.