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
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
2. Dancing Hat/Cap
Traditional caps collected by Jenness and modern traditional
cap made by June Klengenberg.
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).
"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).
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.
5. Sound Recordings
Sound recordings made by Diamond Jenness, source: Roberts and
Jenness 1925, Songs of the Copper Eskimo.