Last night I had the pleasure of being invited along to a ladies adult education class. This was not your normal evening class but a class designed to promote traditional skills. This evening was learning how to treat and prepare seal skins before they can be made into clothing.
It was a fascinating opportunity to see a traditional skill being passed on. Two of the village elders were busy teaching this lengthy process to the younger women on the course. Once the skins have been scrapped and treated they can be dried and made into different items of clothing, from gloves to kamiks (traditional boots).
In the past seal skins were sold to over seas markets and brought in a extra source of income to Inuit communities. However, recently seal skins have fallen out of fashion with European markets which has had a massive impact on Inuit tradition and way of life. The village tannery closed and markets dried up, with that traditional skills, which make the Inuit who they are, have not been getting passed on.
Last nights evening course was a new scheme to bring back traditional skills within the community. Hopefully this will start a new source of income by selling beautiful items direct to tourist who visit during the warmer months.
Seals are traditional caught with nets under the ice which will be shown in a later dispatch this week.