Date of Issue
September 27, 1978
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Based on a drawing by Ashoona Pitseolak Designed by Reinhard Derreth
While a leisurely stroll (or more likely a drive) to the corner store will get southern Canadians all the food they need, the Inuit had to hunt and fish for their food. The need for mobility thus produced the kayak, the umiak, and the dogsled. Innovations such as the snowmobile and the airplane, however, are now pushing the old methods of travel aside. In winter the travelling Inuit wore caribou furs, which were unsurpassed for warmth and lightness. The men shaved their whiskers because an ice-encrusted beard could cause frostbite. They had no use for snowshoes, which were ineffective on the hard-packed Arctic snow. In spring particularly, they wore goggles fashioned from a piece of wood or ivory, with narrow slits, to protect them from the pain of snow blindness. The Inuit absorbed a detailed knowledge of the terrain for hundreds of miles in every direction. Hunters observed and memorized not only major landmarks but also the stars, the direction of the wind, the lay of snowdrifts, and the hundreds of other small impressions that went unnoticed by the uninitiated but were essential for accurate navigation. Travel played such an essential part in the life of the Inuit, that certain groups placed fox intestines on a newborn boy's feet to endow him with skill in crossing thin ice. On sled trips the Inuit often jogged to give the dogs a rest or to keep warm. In summer, Inuit with heavy packs wandered far and wide seeking caribou or a plentiful supply of fish. The Inuit travel stamps feature different methods of travel in the north as depicted by Inuit artists. A traditional method of travel is shown in a colour drawing of a woman on foot, by Pitseolak. The stamp was designed by Reinhard Derreth of Vancouver.
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1978.
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