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Babiche

Dried cured sinew used as traditionally used as tough lacing or thread for making clothes, snow shoes, carrying bags, etc.

Bannock

A traditional food, especially when living out "on the land". Bannock is a fry bread made from flour, salt and lard.

Caribou hair tufting

Tufting made with the guard hairs of caribou. For further explanation, see "Tufting".

County food

This term is used for all kinds of foods that the aboriginal peoples traditionally hunted and gathered "on the land" - from moose stew to goose soup to muktuk.

Home tanned

Hides (usually moose, or perhaps caribou) that have been tanned the traditional aboriginal way, including curing with smoke. This is very labour intensive, but yields very attractive leather.

Moose hair tufting

Tufting made with the guard hairs of moose. For further explanation, see "Tufting".

Muktuk

Muktuk is a traditional Inuit food made from the skin of the beluga, (a small toothed whale common in northern Canada). It can be eaten raw, boiled, deep fried, or dried. These days a lot of Inuit like to eat it with a little "HP Sauce"! It's chewy, but its mild taste is good. The reason it's important as a traditional food is that it's loaded with Vitamin C, which is a good thing for northerners because oranges don't grow up here!

Northern Games

Traditional games of the Gwich'in, Inuvialuit, Inuit and Sahtu Dene stressed strength and balance (like the One Hand Reach and Alaskan High Kick, agility (like the One and Two Foot High Kick), (and the ability to withstand pain - like the Knuckle Hop, Ear Pull, Airplane!) and skills for life on the land (like making tea and bannock in the Good Woman competition).

Packing Doll

Inuit ladies of some communities make dolls. Often the theme is a mother "packing" a baby on her back. The mother is not necessarily human; it might be a polar bear, a walrus, etc.

Pingo

It is formed when a fresh water lake drains almost completely and permafrost starts to form around and under it. As permafrost starts to form under the soil, it expands as it freezes and the soil is pushed up. As more water is drawn into the ice lens and freezes, the soil is pushed up even more. (Sort of like an ice pimple on the face of the earth!) These small (20-50 m or 65-165 foot high) hills are good landmarks on the flat tundra along the Arctic Ocean around Tuktoyaktuk. Unfortunately, these features last only about 100-500 years, so they are protected as the "Pingo National Landmark". To learn more about these unique features and how they are formed, see our "Links" page.

Sedna

The goddess Sedna is a popular subject of traditional carvings because she controls the animals of the sea that were and still are an essential food source for the Arctic aboriginal peoples.

Soapstone

The term commonly applied to stone containing some proportion of talc. It is the talc that makes soapstone soft and relatively easy to carve. However, some of the stone used for carvings is actually quite hard (and therefore more difficult to carve), and is technically not true soapstone.

tree line

The (fuzzy) line beyond which the climate or terrain or growing conditions are too harsh to permit trees to grow in significant numbers (i.e. forests). The tree line can exist part way up a mountain, as conditions become more harsh due to altitude, or as you go further north, due to the latitude.

Tufting

"Tufting" is an art form where the hair of a moose (or caribou) are tied into a tight bundle, sewn onto a piece of felt (usually) and then carefully trimmed with scissors to produce three dimensional relief images (often images of flowers). Guard hairs (the heavy, longer hairs) are most commonly used. Traditionally the hairs are often dyed to produce a variety of colours before being tied into bundles.

Ulu

The traditional curved "woman's knife" of the Inuit, still commonly used; (see video clips of ladies making pies for the Northern Games or cutting muktuk).

 

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