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Annie’s Parka

Curated Submission
Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
95 x 51
Materials & techniques
Muskrat fur, cotton fabric, wolf, wolverine; Machine-stitched, hand-sewn
Annie Emaghok
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre 2011.020.001 a, b
A warm parka is an essential item of clothing along the Arctic coast. This durable parka was made by Annie Emaghok of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. Parkas are made with a decorative outer shell of fabric and an inner parka of furs or duffel (a thick wool textile). Annie’s parka incorporates over 100 muskrat furs to make the inner layer. The ruff around the hood is made with canvas form and wolf and wolverine furs. When making a ruff great care is taken to piece light and dark furs in a pleasing pattern around the face and to select long hairs that stand upwards.
Annie Emaghok recounts:

“I made the parka in 1984. I made it for myself and wore it from 1984 to 2011, almost 25 years! I kept repairing it and some of the furs I replaced. I got another parka so I stopped using this one. The muskrat parka is warmer than the store-bought one. It’s more comfortable too. Fur never gets wet really – just the skin of it does. I used to wear this parka to Husky Lakes and whenever we travelled in the fall time in the boat. I used it when we went berry picking too, when it was cold and I’d wear it around town. The parka is windproof but a bit cold by the seams. I sewed this with a fur machine but fixed it by hand sewing. The fur machine stitches are not as tight as the hand stitches. I used my parka cover as a pattern for the inside muskrat parka. When you sew for yourself you know how it should fit. The design on the ruffle on the bottom – that’s my design. I make different designs all the time.”

Today northern seamstresses continue to sew warm clothing for their families, making full use of modern textiles and technology. Annie Emaghok is an elder living in Tuktoyaktuk.
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