Stretching a Polar Bear Hide
Polar bears commonly come around the town in Late October and November. This is a time where most people are wary about walking out alone on the tundra. However, there is a yearly polar bear tag draw for which the "winners" are allowed to harvest a specified number of bears (1 bear per tag). The result is that you might get to try polar bear meat and of course see hides stretched out to dry. Many times, these hides are sewn into clothing such as mitts or pants which are incredibly warm and waterproof.
Water, water everywhere?
Due to the permafrost, it is not possible to lay regular piping systems for water. As a result all houses have to receive water delivery from one of the water trucks. There is a pump station just outside of town that fills up the trucks so they can deliver water to homes. The water originates from a creek that is south of the town.
Having water supplied in this manner means one has to be aware when deliveries occur and what sort of consumption activities are possible. Nothing is worse than having the water run out just after you've soaped up in the shower.
And of course, sewage also affects water!
Many local Inuit using carving as there main source of income. The preferred medium is caribou antler although some use stone when it is available (we have no local supply here). Whether it be drum dancers, fishermen, kayakers, polar bears or cribbage boards, the artistic abilities of these artists is quite impressive. As for prices, that varies quite a bit and it is quite permissible to barter. Some very famous Iunit carvers have there work displayed all across the world.
An Inuit delicacy is whale blubber or "muqtuq". This comes from the beluga whales that migrate along the Hudson Bay coast here. Muqtuq is eaten raw, boiled or fried and is definitely an acquired taste (especially raw which is quite chewy). When it is prepared "correctly" (from a non-Inuit perspective, muqtuq is awesome!
It is common to see skins hanging in Arctic communities. These are usually caribou hides which are used to line sleds, to sit or sleep on and wrap things in. However, in addition to caribou, one can see muskox and or polar bear and wolf pelts drying. To prepare these skins takes a lot of time and effort to properly scrape then down. Although they are not chemically treated, they still last a long time.
Inuit Kamiks (Boots)
These are an example of traditional Inuit boots made from sealskin or caribou. The bottom parts in theses examples are made of moosehide. These two are examples from the westen side of Nunavut (the Kitikmeot). Equivalent kamiks in Arviat are mostly made entirely of seal skin, some with beautiful geometric designs. We have a local sewing cooperative (Kiluk ) whihc makes beautiful sealskin vests, jackets etc. They even made something that Miss Canada was going to wear at the Miss Universe competition but opted not to to prevent any complaints about using animal fur. The reality in Arviat is that clothing made from animal fur (even polar bear) is a fact of life and warmer than any synthetic materials.