How To Buy Inuit Clothing

We think of them as Eskimos.   But the proper term by which they should be addressed is the "Inuit." In fact the term Eskimo is now widely considered outdated and offensive. Addressing them in that way can be considered offensive; this is especially true in Canada and Greenland. In Alaska and Siberia, “Eskimo” refers not only to the Inuit or Inupiat as they are called, but also the Yupik, another sub branch inhabiting the southwest Alaskan coastal areas and northern Siberia. Literally translated, Inuit means “the people.”

Their culture is unique in that they have figured out ways to survive in some of the harshest environments on Earth. And that is never more evident than in their attire. The clothing they wear reflects the environment in which they live as well as the available resources they have access to. Two pieces of traditional clothing that they wear, is the “Parka,” a hooded coat, and a pair of boots called “Kamiks” or “Mukluk.”    The clothing is made from animal skins, such as those of the Polar Bear and Caribou, sewn with needles made of bones, and held together with thread made from the sinew of these animals.

Believe it or not, there are resources to locate those treasures. First you must decide what items are of most interest to you, and then make the decision as to how authentic you want your Inuit clothing to be. Your options will increase dramatically if authenticity is not of utmost importance to you. Websites like eBay and Amazon are great resources to begin your search.  Otherwise a general online search should do.   More importantly, knowing the proper “key words” will make this process easier. The Internet is a great place to start because today’s search engines have never made life easier.

Unless you plan on traveling to their habitat, know specifically what you are looking for. You could consider a trip to one of those northern areas. But they are remote and won’t be cheap. When there, shops and malls are not common, so it might be best to befriend the locals and ask around. If you are not planning that trip, the Internet will probably be your best bet.


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