Date of Issue
September 27, 1978
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Based on a sculpture by Abraham Kingmeatook Designed by Reinhard Derreth
Abraham Kingmeatook, "Dogsled"
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. The Inuit built sleds from driftwood, bone, or even frozen skins and fish. Ancient sleds came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Larger ones have recently come into vogue to carry the heavy loads required for the trapping industry. A layer of frozen mud topped with ice made the runners slippery. In a pinch, custard or oatmeal replaced the mud. Menacing, hundred-pound dogs provided the locomotive force. In hard times they worked for days without nourishment. The Inuit were forced to shoot dogs that were too old or lazy to work, because there was not enough food to keep a pet. The sled driver himself rarely had a pleasant outing. He heaved the sled over ice ridges, untangled the traces, and performed various other tasks. If he had a good team he kept silent during the trip, because the dogs, ever alert and sensitive to their master's voice, would respond to the slightest sound. Not surprisingly, the airplane and the snowmobile have almost phased out the dogsled, because of their speed and comfort. 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 an ivory sculpture of a dogteam and dogsled, by Abraham Kingmeatook. The stamp was designed by Reinhard Derreth of Vancouver.
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1978.
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