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During the two years Diamond Jenness spent with the Copper Inuit, he obtained more than 2,500 items of clothing, footwear, hunting and fishing equipment, tools and implements, and larger items such as tents and kayaks for the collections of what would later become the National Museum of Canada. From among the many hundreds of ethnological specimens collected, all now held at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the following items demonstrate links between use at the time of the CAE and their use today.

1. Snow goggles

Traditional goggles to prevent snowblindness were made from caribou antler, bone, or wood. A narrow horizontal slit limits the amount of direct sunlight that reaches the eyes. Modern examples of traditional goggles are often made by northern students in their technology classes.

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Copper Inuit snow goggles, wood with sinew cord. Jenness 1913-16. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

2. Dancing Hat/Cap

Traditional caps collected by Jenness and modern traditional cap made by June Klengenberg.

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Copper Inuit dancing cap with yellow-billed loon and ermine skin decoration, collected by D. Jenness, Coronation Gulf region, Nunavut, in 1914-1916. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Made with fine alternating strips of skin from caribou and seal, the dance cap was worn by men or women and passed from one dancer to another. The skin of the loon's head extends down the side of the cap. Today the dancing cap is worn usually at the end of the dancing, and is not worn while drumming. The skill of a dancer is judged by how he or she can set the weasel skin spinning.

June Klengenberg Dancing Cap

This dancing hat was made by June Klengenberg of Kugluktuk in August 2002, following the traditional design. A skilled seamstress, June is also known for her fancy parkas made with Arctic ground squirrel skins. She is one of the few people still making these traditional dancing hats. The yellow-billed loon head is flanked by strips of different coloured caribou skin and trimmed with Arctic hare and muskrat fur. The weasel skin was sent to June from Holman by her grandson. June enjoyed the occasions on which she danced with those hats in her younger days; as she was growing up she never forgot how they were made. She tried to memorize what she saw when she was younger. June learned all the songs and how to perform that type of dance (June Klengenberg Interview, Kugluktuk. September 2002).


June Klengenberg with dancing cap, Kugluktuk. September 2002. Source: David Gray


Nellie Hikok dancing with dancing cap, Kugluktuk. September 2002. Source: David Gray


Print by Holman artist Avakana - dancer with a dancing hat. Source: David Gray


Nellie Hikok dancing at Kugluktuk Elders' meeting, with a dancing cap made by June Klengenberg. September 2002.

"Bernard Harbour.... Big Eskimo dance in the Kitchen in the evening. Ikkpukkuaq wore a hoodless caribou-skin coat and a fancy dance cap with two Loon bills sticking up on top of the cap. The Eskimos brought in their big drum and there was considerable singing" (R. M. Anderson Diary, December 1, 1915).

3. Clothing

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Man's Outer Parka made by Kenmek. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

This parka, made by Kenmek, the Inupiat wife of Christian Klengenberg (and mother of Patsy), shows the "walrus tusk" insert, a feature of the North Alaskan/Mackenzie Delta long-waisted parka design, which replaced the local Copper Inuit designs. Many people shown in the CAE photographs are wearing this style of parka. Kenmek's parka, made from caribou with wolverine trim, was acquired by Diamond Jenness at the Coppermine River in 1916 and was donated to the Canadian Museum of Civilization by Diamond's son Stuart in 1987.

4. Copper artifacts

The Copper Inuit had access to native copper for the making of tools. Most copper came from the Coppermine River area.

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Typical copper Inuit knife, with lanceolate copper blade, collected by Stefansson. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

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Kringaudlik demonstrating shooting an arrow from a kneeling position, Wollaston Point, Bathurst Inlet, Nunavut. May 19, 1916. RMA 39039. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

5. Sound Recordings

Sound recordings made by Diamond Jenness, source: Roberts and Jenness 1925, Songs of the Copper Eskimo.

  • Dance Song, sung by Taipanamp3 )

  • Dance Song, sung by Quniluk mp3 )

  • Dance Song, sung by Takoheqinamp3 )

  • "Incantation of the Longspur", sung by Naneroaq    ( mp3 )

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    CMC CD2002-1013-021

    Lapland longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) at Bernard Harbour, Nunavut. June 23, 1915. GHW 50960. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization


    A Lapland longspur on its nest, near fishing lake southwest of Bernard Harbour, Nunavut. July 3, 1915. GHW 50987. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

    CMC CD96-653-026

    Anivrunna (Copper Inuk) seated, singing and drumming, Berens Islands, Coronation Gulf, Nunavut. May 28, 1915. GHW 50918. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization