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About a thousand years ago the Northern Hemisphere experienced a few centuries of relatively warm climate. Arctic sea ice diminished in extent, navigation became easier in the high latitudes, and two maritime-oriented peoples were attracted to arctic Canada. From the west came the ancestors of the Inuit, a people whose way of life had been developed along the bountiful coasts of Alaska. Traveling in large skin-covered boats in summer and by dogsled in winter, they rapidly occupied most regions of arctic Canada. From the east came the Norse, who established colonies in southwestern Greenland and made at least occasional voyages to the adjacent coasts of northeastern Canada. The Norsemen may have come ashore on Baffin Island to trade with the Inuit. Such trade is suggested by scraps of metal, cloth and hardwood of European origin found in Inuit houses of the period. In return, the Inuit may have traded walrus ivory, a material that the Norse valued and that the Inuit had in abundance, even using it to manufacture many of their tools. These ivory snow-goggles, designed to protect the wearer from snow-blindness while hunting or traveling on spring ice, were found in an early Inuit house in the eastern Arctic. [Treasures] (Inuit)

Moccasins made from two pieces of peeled sealskin (one piece for the vamp and one piece for the main part of the foot). The ankle trim consists of white seal fur which is turned to create a casing for the drawstring of moose hide. (Labrador Inuit)

Remarkably detailed, this perfectly scaled model kayak includes ivory and wood carved hunting gear, a paddle, folded sealskin seat and an ivory seal carcass. As with full sized kayaks, this one's frame is made of wood and covered with sealskin. (Qikirtamiut)

This skin coat has feathers on the inside. The front and back flaps, possibly of arctic hare and fox skins, are trimmed on the outside with a band of navy blue fabric. A sealskin trim on the front and below the hood can be seen in the shape of an "M". The hood is very large and may be used to hold a baby. (Qikirtamiut)

Snow goggles such as these would have been used in between April and July to protect the eyes against light reflection from the snow. Commonly made of bone or ivory, these goggles are made of a soft, lightly stained wood. The wood has been carved into a rectangular shape. Two narrow slits that taper towards each other have been cut for the eyes. A projecting brow ridges produces a visor-like edge that prevents light from entering from above and below the eyes. (Iglulingmiut)

This harpoon head's blade is made from chipped stone shaped like a leaf. The end off the harpoon head, carved from a piece of bone and held to the blade with sinew, has a hole drilled into it for the insertion of the fore shaft. As with all other harpoons, this detachable head was used to spear its victim, such as a fish, holding it on the line until it was pulled into the boat. (Netsilingmiut)

Bag, © CMC/MCC, IV-C-1417

Bag Enlarge image

This is a small U-shape child's bag made from two pieces of partially de-haired dark brown sealskin. (Iglulingmiut)

Children's boots made of de-haired seal skin. At the instep there is a loop for the braided sinew boot lace. This lace runs across the foot, is taken round behind the heel and tied again in front. (Iglulingmiut)

This ulu handle is carved from a single piece of cream-yellow ivory. A slit was made at the distal end for the insertion of the blade (which not shown). (Central Inuit, Sallirmiut)

This feather bag is made from the skin of a small animal which had not been de-haired. The face of the animal is at the bottom end of the bag. This bag is part of a set containing a bow, case, quivers, a groover for feathering arrows, meat pins, two pins for a blood bag, and one board for trimming feathers. (Copper Inuit)