Arctic dwellers in Canada, from west to east, include the Inuvialuit or Mackenzie Delta Inuit, Copper Inuit, Netsilingmiut, Iglulingmiut, Sallirmiut, Caribou Inuit, and Nunatsiarmiut (Baffinland Inuit). Although each group had distinctive styles, the basic clothing patterns, materials, and construction were very similar. Men's parkas were shorter in front than at the back and had tight-fitting, pointed hoods anchored at the back by a single hood root. The back flaps of men's parkas were longer, suggesting tails. Women's parkas, or amauti, also displayed similar features across the Canadian North. These garments had broad shoulders, large hoods, extra material at the back to create a pouch, or amaut, for carrying babies, and front and back flaps. The specific shape of these features varied regionally; for example, the back flaps of Copper Inuit amauti were long and straight-sided with sharply defined corners and the front flaps were small and narrow. Iglulingmiut amauti, on the other hand, featured broad, rounded tails in the front and back, more rounded shoulders, and elongated hoods. Decoration of most Canadian Inuit garments consisted of alternating bands of light and dark fur, fringes of dehaired caribou skin, and insets of white fur.
In precontact times, the Inuvialuit traded with Alaskan Iñupiat, sharing in the intercontinental trade network that stretched across Bering Strait. As contact with Euro-Americans increased, the Inuvialuit suffered epidemics that decreased their population. Those who survived blended culturally with the Iñupiat to the west. This contact influenced Inuvialuit clothing styles so that Inuvialuit garments became nearly indistinguishable from those of the Alaskans. Copper Inuit clothing was also influenced by the western Arctic styles as Iñupiat and Inuvialuit migrated into the Copper Inuit territory after the demise of the whaling industry in the early 1900s. Copper Inuit adopted the longer, looser parka styles, in part recognizing that they were warmer and also because of the blurring of group boundaries and population shifts caused by commercial whaling activities and epidemics.
Inuit groups further east were less influenced by the whaling industry and maintained their aboriginal clothing styles, adding elements introduced through trade but not forsaking traditional designs. Caribou Inuit, for example, decorated their inner parkas with beaded embroidery on the hoods, shoulders, cuffs, and flaps. Modern parkas generally follow the old styles, but there has been some blending of styles due to comfort and practicality. Contemporary Canadian Inuit clothing is constructed out of skins or cloth; men wear thigh-length parkas with straight hems. Women wear either the old style amauti with flaps or the even-hemmed western Arctic style, decorating them with beads, bias tape, braid, and rickrack.
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