Inuit Child's Parka

From the rich legacy of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Written by Danelle Cloutier

January 14, 2015

Parkas like this early 1940s coat are quite rare.

It was made by the Kimmirut Inuit band, which as recently as 2005 had a population of only about 345 people. The Kimmirut have resided for centuries on the southwestern shore of Baffin Island, Nunavut. They were one of the first Inuit groups to come into contact with Europeans and made this coat as a trade item.

The loon’s neck skin and feathers that were used to make this waterproof coat have a powerful spiritual significance in Inuit culture — the loon is believed to be a spiritual helper and, in one story, is said to have cured a young boy of blindness.

The Inuit also used loon skins and feathers to make bags and to make caps that were used at drum dances.

This article originally appreaedin the February-March 2015 issue of Canada’s History.

This article is also available in French.

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