Fur design program hits Repulse Bay

Nunavut Arctic College’s Fur Production Design program has been offered in many smaller Nunavut communities… now eight students are enrolled in Repulse Bay.
Students in Repulse Bay use ulus, traditional Inuit knives, to scrape seal skins to prepare them for sewing as part of a Nunavut Arctic College's Fur Production Design course. (Nunavut Arctic College)

Chris Tungilik can usually be found driving a water or sewage truck for the hamlet of Repulse Bay. But right now he’s putting all his energy into the first part of a Fur Production Design program being offered by Nunavut Arctic College.

Chris Tungilik shows off a pair of sealskin kamiks. (Nunavut Arctic College )
“On Friday I cut my thumb open from preparing a seal skin,” Tungilik says, “so I've asked to take time off work by the hamlet, but the nurses told me that I can still sew so I wasn't just going to stay home. I want to get my sewing done.”

The Fur Production Design program teaches students how to prepare seal skins, from beginning to end.

“Right from taking the whole seal and going through the traditional ways of preparing it for sewing,” says Maureen Doherty, community programs coordinator for the Kivalliq region.

“We're really lucky because we're able to draw in the knowledge of elders in our communities,” Doherty says.

Rosemary Sandy is teaching the course.

“Last year, some of my students made 4 or 5 kamiks and this year my students have made up to 5 kamiks,” she said, referring to the traditional sealskin boots worn by Inuit.

The course has already been offered in Arviat, Coral Harbour and Rankin Inlet. The eight students in Repulse will complete the course Dec. 12, when they’ll showcase their creations to the public.

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