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

Recommended by Cirriculum Services Canada

An Inuit Woman's Art

Classroom Activities & Projects

About the Exhibition:
Our Boots: An Inuit Woman's Art is based on the field work and research of ethnographer Jill Oakes and biologist Rick Riewe. They lived with and learned from Inuit seamstresses and hunters from every region of the Canadian Arctic between the 1970's and 1990's. Inuit women shared their traditional knowledge and skill so that the process of Inuit boot or kamik–making could be documented, while Inuit men provided information about traveling on the land, hunting wildlife, and the importance of skin footwear for arctic journeys throughout the year. Our Boots: An Inuit Woman's Art was one of the inaugural exhibitions at The Bata Shoe Museum when it opened in 1995. (A book of the same title was published by Douglas & McIntyre the same year.) Much of this valuable knowledge has been formatted in an online–exhibition to extend its reach.

About the Activities:
The three activities were inspired by the extraordinary tapestry created in 1979 by Mina Napartuk of Kuujjuarapik, Québec, depicting the various steps that result in a finished pair of seal skin kamiks. They also give students opportunities to find other information and artifacts in the Our Boots online–exhibition.

Teachers will find ways to use this exhibition at many different grade levels. Each of the following activities is geared to a different grade and subject, and is meant as a supplementary activity to enhance the unit. There are opportunities for students to apply their learning for each activity.

About Aboriginal Perspective:
In Canada, the several provincial Ministries of Education have set the goal of integrating information about Aboriginal culture, histories and perspectives throughout the curriculum to increase knowledge and awareness among all students. Moreover, the Department of Education in Nunavut incorporates Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), or traditional Inuit Knowledge, into all aspects of its curriculum, and in the Northwest Territories, their Dene Kede curriculum encompasses culture, language and the Dene perspective. It is hoped that these activities will assist and inspire teachers to take opportunities to incorporate Aboriginal perspective in their teaching.