Personal adornment varied among regions but consisted mainly of
beaded breastplates, earrings, hair sticks, snow goggles and various
attachments and buttons for the outer parka. In the Ungava region,
pewter ornaments were fashioned out of melted-down spoons. These
jingled as a woman walked. In the West Coast region of Hudson Bay,
women's parkas had elaborate bead decorations on the shoulders and
front flap. People also wore brow-bands which had been hammered out
of discarded pieces of metal, such as old telescopes.
Part of women's adornment included tattooing on the face and arms.
"Ear Ornament," 19071909
Southampton Island, Nunavut
7.5 x 3.4 x 0.2 cm
Collected by Captain Comer while wintering over at Fullerton Harbour
between 1907 and 1909
Comer listed this item as ear ornament in his inventory.
Franz Boas shows very similar objects which he refers to as hair
ornaments (Boas, 1901, p.74). The round
bead with a hole drilled into it required considerable skill on the
part of the carver, with only a bow drill and a pocket knife at his
disposal. The dotted lines as a form of decoration can also be found
on combs from that area.
Area around Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut
7.5 x 3.6 x 2 cm
Collected by Ernest William Hawkes during his field trip to Labrador
in and along the West Coast of Hudson Bay in 1914
These two ivory ornaments have a metal eye in the back. They were
attached to a leather strap worn by a woman to support the child
carried in her parka.* The metal was, of course, obtained from the
American whalers who had been wintering over on the West Coast of
Hudson Bay since the 1860s. As on many objects from this area, the
main decorative motif is the circle/dot pattern.
1984 "The Caribou Eskimo." Handbook of North
American Indians, vol.5:
The Arctic. Washington: Smithsonian
Institution, ill. p. 454.