A: Where ever you see the video camera icon you can click on the image next to it in order to view a movie. (All you need is a single click - since this is the Internet.) If your Internet browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer) cannot play the movie, you may need to update your QuickTime plug-in. This can be downloaded for free from the Internet, or it can be used off our interactive CD-ROMs.. Click here for detailed instructions.
A: The term "soapstone" is applied to a wide variety of stone with some proportion of talc. The appearance of the stone varies with the proportion of talc and the other minerals present. While talc makes the stone soft and relatively easy to carve, some of the stone used is actually quite hard and difficult to carve, and is technically not true "soapstone".
A carver's home community can often be recognized by the colour and texture of the stone they work in. However, many northern carvers also work in a variety of stone - including alabaster from British Columbia, soapstone from Brazil, marble, etc.
A: Like any piece of art, the price of a carving depends on the reputation of the carver, the amount of work required and the cost of the raw material. Bear in mind the artists live in communities where the cost of living is extremely high (butter costs $6/lb and a bottle of ketchup is $12 because most food is flown in) and the opportunities for full time paid employment are few.
A: Hunting and living "on the land" are deeply rooted traditions. Seal is still a mainstay of the Inuit diet. Traditionally the seal skin has been used for clothing and other items, and it continues to be. If the skin was not used this way, it would be simply wasted as the current market value is practically nil.
A: The Dempster Highway is generally in very good shape. However, it is about 750 km of gravel road and parts can become slippery or develop potholes after several days of rain. The key is to take it easy, slow down when there is other traffic, and enjoy the journey itself. After all, there are not many places in the world you can drive your own car north of the tree line and across the Arctic Circle. There are several nice campsites, including one near the spectacular Tombstone Mountains - just remember to bring a head net in case the mosquitoes and blackflies are out in full force.
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