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Inuinnait regional groups were very active in their contact and trade with each other at the beginning of the 20th century. In the western part of their territory, for example, there was a fair degree of specialization in the materials and goods traded by different groups. Kangirjuarmiut had a rich source of native copper northwest of Kangirjuaq (Prince Albert Sound) in their home territory and so were exporters of raw copper and completed copper snow knives.


Fragment – piece of native copper unworked (On loan from Canadian Museum of History, CMH IV-D-1535)

Copper Inuit Snow Knife with bone handle

Inuinnait Snow Knife with bone handle and copper blade. Collected by Vilhjalmur Stefansson in 1912. (American Museum of Natural History [60/6984])

Qurluqturmiut were also exporters of native copper, though the deposits available to them along the Coppermine River and at Dismal Lake was not of the same quality as the deposits northwest of Kangirjuaq (Prince Albert Sound). The resources of the Haniragmiut were driftwood that they salvaged from the mainland, and pyrites that were quarried in their home territory. Pyrites were used to create a spark to start fires. Haniragmiut craftsmen were well respected by Kangirjuarmiut as producers of fine bows.


Avranna mending his bow, Colville Hills, Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1914. (Diamond Jenness/CMH/37058) 

Puiplirmiut were also collectors of driftwood on the mainland, from which they constructed bows, sleds, and tent poles for trade. Nagjuktuurmiut were well known producers of fine soapstone pots and lamps that were made from stone quarried from a river called Qurluqtualuk [Tree River].

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