Until recent times the chief means of summer water transport for coastal INUIT
, the umiak was used for moving family and possessions to seasonal hunting areas and for whaling expeditions. The craft could hold more than 20 people and was 6-10 m in length and more than 1.5 m wide at the centre. Ownership was sometimes shared by 2 or more families. The frame was constructed of salvaged driftwood or whalebone, and hide lashings on pegs of antler, ivory or wood held the boat together. Hides of bearded seal sewn together with waterproof seams were stretched to dry tightly around the frame. The umiak dates to THULE
times (1000 AD) in the central Arctic and appeared in Greenland, Baffin Island, Labrador, the Mackenzie Delta, Alaska and eastern Siberia.
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).
RENÉ R. GADACZ
E.Y. Arima, Report on an Eskimo Umiak Built at Ivuyivik, P.Q., in the Summer of 1960 (1963).
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.
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.