All Inuit groups used some form of kayak, except for the most northerly polar Inuit. Essentially a one-person closed-deck hunting craft, it was employed sometimes for transport of goods. Fast and seaworthy and ranging from 4 m to 7 m in length, it was built to hold from one to 3 persons. Covered with dehaired seal or caribou skins, the frame was often made of driftwood, with ribs of willow branches. Both single and double-bladed wooden paddles were used. To make the entire craft watertight, even when tipped, the hunter wore a parka which was tied around the hatch-hole rim.
Kayak and Umiak
The kayak is a narrow hunting boat made of sealskin stretched over a wood or bone frame. The larger umiak was used for transporting goods and people (artwork by Gordon Miller).
Inuit in their Kayaks
Circa 1901, NWT (Charles W. Mathers/Library and Archives Canada/C-005106).
RENÉ R. GADACZ
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
The "Canadian Olympians" website offers a searchable images database of Canadian athletes at the Olympics, from the early 1900s through 2002. From Library and Archives Canada.