Home Arts, Culture & Education Culture Fox Trapping – Trade goods for the fashion industry

Fox Trapping – Trade goods for the fashion industry

Capturing the past. In this scene from the movie set of Kabloona, shot near Iqaluit in 1993, igloos and a variety of drying fox pelts recapture the feeling of life in the 1920s in the Qikiqtaaluk region.

Foxes were not of prime interest to Inuit in pre-contact times due to their fur being too fragile for external use and were seen as thieves who hung around the residue of bear kills. Nonetheless, when caught, and although not usually eaten, they were used for certain domestic purposes such as bootee liners for babies. However, in the early 20th century, after the collapse of the whaling industry, Inuit were encouraged by the Hudson Bay Co. to trap for Arctic fox and thus had a product enabling them to purchase trade goods that they had become increasingly dependent upon, such as guns and metal goods, tobacco, tea, sugar and flour. The fur market fluctuated somewhat after World War Two but still provides some income for Inuit who go out on the land. Northern fox pelts come in more than one colour, from the common white fox to others such as the ‘blue,’ ‘cross’ and ‘silver’ and even the larger red fox which is now being seen North of Sixty.

VIANick Newbery
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