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glossary

TermDefinition
Aglu"A hole in the sea ice where seals come up for air." (1)
Akootok"Fat mixed with meat." (1)
AkpakMurre. A member of the auk family, similar to penguins in their appearance and behaviour but is able to fly. (2-4)
Akuliakat"A point of land between two bays." (5)
Ajjagatuk"A toy designed to develop the survival skills of Inuk children. It made of pieces of bone (one large and one small). The large bone has one or more holes drilled into both ends. The small bone is attached to the large bone with a piece of sinew. The child holds the large piece of bone in one hand and, with an upward motion, he/she tries to catch the small bone in one of the drilled holes." (2)
Amaruk"Wolf." (2)
Amaut"The pouch in the amautiq in which the baby is carried." (2)
Amautiq (Amautik)"A womans parka with a large hood. It is distinguished from a mans parka by the U-shaped skirt in the front. Also: A traditional Inuit woman's parka with an enlarged hood to facilitate carrying a baby." (2,6)
Ammituq"Strait or narrows." (5)
Anakoq "The Inutituk word for shaman. Shaman played the main role in spiritual life in the traditional Inuit community." (6)
Angatkut (Angatkuq or Angakuq)"A shaman - a person who mediates between the human and spirit worlds to heal the sick, ensure good weather and abundant hunting. Shamans were aided by helping spirits, usually those of animals. Through a process of transformation the shaman would assume the forms of these spirits." (1)
Annuraat"Clothes made from the skins of caribou, seal, eider ducks, dogs, and other animals." (2)
Aquatint"Acid is used to bite the plate, creating pits that will hold ink. The aquatinting process is used to create an overall rough tooth to the [copper or zinc] plate that will hold a large area of ink to print a solid block of color; the image is created from dark to light by smoothing the tooth to create highlights. A metal plate is dusted evenly (or unevenly) with finely particulate resin. The plate is then heated to melt the resin to the surface. Biting the plate with acid creates a fine, rough texture on the plate. Before biting, the artist may use asphaltum [(an oil)] to block areas that will print clear; after biting, the artist may use a burnisher to smooth areas of the plate, lightening them for printing." (7)
Ataupluta"Autumn trip to the sea ice." (1)
Atigi"Parka." (2)
Ayagak"Ball and pin game." (1)
Avatak"A seal skin float. All openings on a cured seal skin are tightly sealed and the skin is then inflated. It is attached by a line of sinew to a harpoon. When the hunter spears a sea animal with the harpoon, the avatak floats on the water to mark the wounded animal. The avatak is carried in the boats during a hunting expedition." (2)
Avedlek"The outermost." (5)
Bow Drill"The bow drill has three parts: (1) the bow: (2) the drill shaft: and (3) the bone shaft holder. It is used for drilling holes and starting fires." (2)
Cardboard cut"A relief-type print similar to a woodcut but produces a softer effect. The process was tried experimentally in Povungnituk circa 1962." (8)
ChopAn identifying mark embossed [Embossing is the process of putting a three-dimensional image or design in paper] on a print to identify the workshop, printer or publisher. (38-40)
Co-operativesAre "business organizations owned by the members who use their services. Control rests equally with all members ('one member, one vote') and surplus earnings are shared by members in proportion to the degree they use the services. Co-ops are structured in a democratic way that allows members to have a say in their actions." (1)

In Cape Dorset in 1957 the first print shop was founded. It was a co-operative effort among many Inuit artists to produce art and market their art for the southern market place. In 1959 other co-operatives were formed both by the Inuit and the government.

Today artists' co-operatives still function in the North and are still important distribution and marketing points for Inuit art. The co-operatives ensure that the profit, from Inuit art sales, are distributed back to the artists themselves. Some co-operatives have expanded their mandates to operate, for example, retail and grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, construction projects, and to provide municipal services.

There are approximately 16,000 co-operative members in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

Inuit culture is based on co-operation both within families and amongst groups. Co-operatives extend traditional social co-operation among the Inuit into the marketplace. (28-31)
Copper Inuit"An anthropological designation referring to a group of Inuit, including the residents of Holman, who traditionally manufactured tools and weapons from the abundant natural copper found in the region in which they lived." (1)
Disc numberThe Canadian government issued disc numbers to the Inuit starting in the 1940s and continued into the 1970s. They were imprinted on fibre discs and were to be worn around the neck. The disc numbers were to be used in place of names. The numbers were preceded by an E or W indicating if the wearer came from the Eastern or Western Arctic. The next single or double digit stood for where the wearer came from. The last one to four numbers were particular to that person. The numbering system was used in what is now the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. It is these disc numbers that Inuit artists from that time period inscribe on the bottoms of their sculptures.

"Project Surname" was initiated to replace the disc numbers of the Inuit with first and last names. Abe Okpik worked on the project from 1968 to 1971 travelling through the former Northwest Territories and speaking with families. He explained the need for first and last names. When the project was over every Inuit had a first and last name. For his work on this project Abe Okpik received the Order of Canada. (32-37)
DorsetDorset culture lasted from 500 BC - 1500 AD in most coastal regions of arctic Canada. They "lived in more permanent houses built of snow and turf and heated with soapstone oil lamps. They may also have used dogsleds and kayaks." Sea mammals were their main food source. They migrated down the Labrador coast around 500 BC, staying in Newfoundland for almost 1000 years. At 1000 AD the Thule then dominated the area. The Dorset stayed in northern Québec and Labrador until roughly 1500 AD. (11)
EngravingRequires cutting a design consisting of lines and depressions cut onto a hard, flat surface (or plate) of metal, stone or wood with a sharp instrument. Ink is then laid over the flat surface. Next paper is then placed and pressed onto the plate. The result is a reverse image of the design on the flat surface. (6, 9)
Eskimo (Esquimaux)"Historically used to refer to indigenous people of Arctic North America. The term derives from the Algonquin word for "eaters of raw meat." (1)
Etching"Is an intaglio [when an image is incised onto a surface] method of printmaking in which the image is incised into the surface of a [copper or zinc] metal plate using an acid. The acid eats the metal, leaving behind roughened areas, or if the surface exposed to the acid is very narrow, burning a line into the plate." The result is a "reverse image of the etched lines." (6, 10)
Floe-edge"Point at which ice ends and open sea water begins." (1)
Harpoon"This was used by hunters to hunt polar bears, walrus, etc. the spear head is attached to sinew so it can be thrown with the hunters still holding onto it. The spear head can turn inside the animal so it cannot get away." (2)
Igimak"The harpoon head or igimak was traditionally made of ivory. It is used mainly for hunting larger animals from the kayak including walrus, beluga, and bearded seal." (2)
Igloo (snowhouse)Used by some Inuit as a permanent winter home, and by others only when they were travelling. The igloo gave shelter to 15 to 20 Inuit with indoor temperatures at slightly below freezing.

Igloos are built around a dug out depression in snow with angled blocks of spiralling around the depression to form a closed half circle. The blocks used to make the dome are approximately 15 to 30 cm. and are angled slightly inward to contribute to the arch of the dome. The snow used to make the blocks must be compact and of a consistent texture. Using blocks from one snow drift is recommended to ensure consistency. The strength of the dome came from the key block, which was the last block to be inserted in the roof. Because the igloo will be exposed to the elements it will freeze, melt, and refreeze. This makes the exterior very strong and hold the weight of an adult. Ventilation is important to let fresh air in and cold air out.

A group of domes can be made with connecting tunnels. An igloo's walls could be insulated with animal pelts but traditionally the only furniture inside were cooking utensils, lamps, and sleeping platforms. (11-15)
Igloolik"Where there is a house." (5)
Ikpik (Ipkit)"Steep." (5)
Ikerasak"The sound, channel." (5)
Illuk"An igloo or ice hut in which the Inuit commonly lived during the winter until government housing was built. Igloos are still built today as required during winter hunting trips." (2)
Imek"Water." (5)
Inua"The spirits." (2)
Inuit"Inuktitut word meaning "the people" one person is an "Inuk." (6)
InuktitutIs the language of the Inuit people (Eskimo-Aleut). An ancient language, and one of the official languages of Greenland, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, Nunavik (Arctic Quebec) and has some recognition in Nunatsiavut, which is the Inuit area of Labrador. There are six regional dialects and in the 1870s the syllabics for the previously oral language were developed. (6, 16)
InukshukIn Inuktitut the words means "likeness of a person." In a landscape that is nearly flat inukshuks can be seen from a great distance and can be used to navigate. Symbolically an inukshuk means safe passage and comradeship. It is forbidden in Inuit culture to destroy one.

The sizes, shapes and meanings of inukshuks vary. They can point out direction, danger, important sites, aid in the hunting of caribou or show navigation routes. An arrangement of stones, often resembling the shape of a human. These stone cairns embody strong spiritual and ancestral connections and have been erected by Inuit on the Arctic tundra for many generations.

The pronunciation of inukshuk varies slightly in different communities. In Nunavik (Arctic Quebec) and on the southern pat of Baffin Island (Qikiqtaaluk) it is pronounced 'inuksuk.'

Also: Innuksuk: Cairn, landmark. See also Inukshuit: plural of Inukskuk. (1, 5, 9, 11)
InuitRefers to the native peoples of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland. Inuk is the term for an individual Inuit and Inuuk is the term for two Inuit. When there are more than three individuals the correct term is Inuit. In the Inuit language, Inuktitut, the word Inuit means "people". The preferred usage is 'Inuit' and not 'the Inuit'.
Iqaluk"Fish." (2)
Isortoq"Muddy, turbid, foul." (5)
"Muddy, turbid, foul." (5)
Iterdlugssuak
"The large bay, sheltered." (5)
Kagee"The dance house. The dance house was a place of celebration where drums would be played while others danced and sang." (2)
Kakivak"A fish spear used for fishing. The kakivak has three points with barbs." (2)
Kamik"Kamiks are boots made from seal or caribou skin. Hairless seal skin boots are waterproof and used in the Spring and Summer. The skins have to be chewed before they can be sewn. It takes two days to make one pair of boots. Fur boots made from caribou skin are for the Winter. The hair is left on the skin to help shed snow. The soles have extra pieces of cured skin that are sewn on for tread. The soles are made from caribou skin or from a seals stomach." (2, 6)
Kangak, Kangeeak, Kangerk"The promontory." (5)
Karlik"Mens trousers." (2)
Katajjaq (Katajjait)"Throat singing, played by two persons, usually women." (2)
KatilvikMeans a gathering or meeting place.
Kayak"One-person boat covered in skins and used for hunting." (6)
Kekertuk"The island." (5)
Kingmitokvik"The place where dogs are kept." (5)
Komatik"Dog sled." (1)
Kudlik (qulliq)"Seal oil lamp. A kudlik provided both heat and light in the igloo. It was carved from soapstone. The Inuit preferred to burn seal oil. However, they often used other kinds of fat in times of shortage." (2)
Kuletak"Mens seal skin parka." (2)
Kuuk"The river." (5)
Linocut"Usually used as a medium stone is not available or easyly available. The other benefit is that a print can be made in sections, so there is no limit to size. In early years in Cape Dorset, linocuts were made from leftover floor titles." (8)
Lithography"A printing process in which an image is drawn with crayon or ink washes directly onto a metal plate or flat stone; the surface is chemically treated, dampened, rolled with ink and pressed with paper, producing a reverse image of the drawn areas." (6)
Monotype"A printing technique in which pigment or ink is applied directly to a flat metal plate and pressed with paper to produce a reverse image as a single unique print." (6)
Nauja, Naujan, Nauyan, Nauyat"The gulls." (5)
Narwhal"An Arctic whale sometimes called 'the unicorn of the sea' for its long spiral tusk." (6)
Niarkrok"The head." (5)
North West Territories"One of three Canadian territories, extending north from the 60th parallel and west from the Nunavut border almost to Alaska." (6)
Nuglugartuq"This toy is part of a game where children and adults try to spear a piece of drilled bone that is suspended from the ceiling." (2)
Nuiq"A finely-crafted three-pronged spear used for hunting birds on water." (2)
Nunavik"The Arctic region of the Canadian province of Québec." (6)
Nunavut"Self-governed Inuit territory of Canada formally established on April 1, 1999." (6)
Nuvuk"Point, cape." (5)
Panak"A knife used for cutting snow during the building of a igloo." (2)
Pauluk"A pauluk is a mitten. The Inuktitut word for mittens (plural) is Paulueet." (2)
Qaat"A very warm mattress made from caribou hide." (2)
Qajaq"A kayak used in summer. It could be carried by a single person." Could be made of whale bone, driftwood, ivory and antler. (2,6)
Qamutiik"A sled pulled by dogs capable of transporting very heavy weights." (2)
Qaqmaq"A semi-subterranean sod house, a dwelling for spring and fall." (2)
Qikirtaq"The island" (5)
Qipiik"A blanket made of caribou hide." (2)
Qulliq"A stone lamp fueled with the fat of marine mammals. It enabled Inuit to make hot drinks and to dry their clothes. It also warmed the igloo." (2)
Sealskin Stencil"The use of a stencil associated with early sealskin appliqué work of Inuit women" but not used for the "editioning of a print design was ever carried out using a sealskin." (8)
Sedna (Nuliajuk, Taleelayo)Is a popular theme in Inuit carving and prints. The myth has many versions. Sedna, for example, is a beautiful young Inuit woman who is betrayed by her father because she rejects many suitors. She drowns and finds a rebirth through her role as guardian/mother to fish, seals, walrus, and whales. She is seen as being in control of these animals and their availability to the Inuit for hunting. She is key to their survival. The Inuit, therefore, believe that keeping a good relationship with Sedna is important. Many Inuit believe in her today as a physical being who can be seen. Is a popular theme in Inuit carving and prints. (17, 18)
Seekoo"Ice, glacier." (5)
ShamanRefers to an individual in a tribal society who acts as a healer or spiritual guide or go-between from the physical world and that of the spiritual. He or she, usually he, heals, foresees events and acts as a mediator between worlds. Very important figure in Inuit art and culture. (16)
Silk-screen"The screen is placced on top of a piece of dry paper or fabric. Ink is placed on top of the screen, and a squeegee (rubber blade) is used to spread the ink evenly across the screen. The ink passes through the open spaces in the screen onto the paper or fabric below; then the screen is lifted away. The screen can be re-used after cleaning. If more than one color is being printed on the same surface, the ink is allowed to dry and then the process is repeated with another screen and different color of ink." (42)
Stencil"A printing process in which an image is cut out of mylar plastic and then placed over printing paper; ink is then stippled through the open parts of the 'mask' to produce images in soft, modulated colours." (6)
Snow Goggles"These were traditionally made to prevent snow blindness." (2)
Snow Knives"Knives made of bone that are used to cut blocks of ice and snow for making igloos." (2)
SoapstoneIs a mineral that has both historic and present-day significance for the Inuit. Known for its heat retaining properties it was carved into lamps used by Inuit. It has a soapy and oily surface hence the name soapstone. Compared to other stones it is relatively soft and easy to carve. (43, 44)
Stone rubbing versus Stonecut"With a stonecut the negative image of the design is traced onto the stone so that when the stone is inked and the print is pulled, it is right-reading and appears exactly as the drawing."

"In a stone rubbing, the print is obtained not by inking the stone but by rubbing the paper which has been laid on the stone block with ink or pencil, or another medium. The image, therefore, appears on the topside of the paper rather than on the side touching the stone block and will be reversed (or wrong-reading) just as it is on the stone." (8)
Styrofoam or Linocut printStyrofoam or linoleum is used as a block out of which an image is carved with a chisel. The surface is then inked and paper is pressed onto the inked surface.
SyllabicsIs a writing system that was developed in the 1850s by James Evans (and others) for the Inuit who had an oral culture and, therefore, did not have a writing system. (22)
Thule"Are the ancestors of modern Canadian Inuit. They first arrived on the continent through Alaska about 500 and then came to Nunavut in 1000. Their success in surviving in the Norths harsh conditions meant they eventually replaced the Dorset (culture) who were less successful in adapting." (23, 24)
Toy balls"Children played games with white balls to develop a keen sense of sight which is a skill necessary for hunting and survival. The white balls would be hard to see against the snow. When the children grew up to be hunters, they would have learned how to see a white animal (such as an arctic hare) against the white snow." (2)
Transformation"The spiritual metamorphosis of animal into human or vice versa. Transformation subjects in Inuit sculpture include shamans, bears, birds and walruses reflecting the belief in a shared spirit by all things." (6)
Tuktu"A caribou." (2)
Tupiq"A skin tent."
Also A summer dwelling made of seal or caribou skins. (2, 6)
Ujjuk"A bearded seal." (2)
UluIs a crescent-shaped blade used traditionally by Inuit women. The handle at its top is usually made of stone, bone, wood or antler while the blade is made from stone or metal. It is used to cut and scrape meat and is still used by both Inuit and non-Inuit.

See also: The crescent shaped tool used by women to cut meat, skins, and sinew. Ulus were made in different sizes for specific tasks. For example, small ulus were for sewing and large ulus were for working on skins. (2, 25 - 27)
UlukhaktokThe highest bluff overlooking the community of Holman; also the community itself which means "the place where ulu parts are found."

"Artist Mary K. Okheena described this as meaning the place where natural copper could be found to make tools such as the crescent-shaped ulu or woman's knife." (1)
Umiaq"A large boat made of seal or walrus skins, usually handled by women. It was used to transport the dogs, together with the tents and other equipment, during changes of camp, and was also sometimes used for hunting."

Also: "Umiak, a skin-covered boat more than ten metres in length used for migration and hunting." (2)
Unaaq"A harpoon employed winter and summer for hunting seal." (2)
Uppiq"A snowy owl." (2)
Uviluq"A mussel." (2)
Weir"Stone enclosure erected in a shallow waterway, used for trapping and spearing fish." (1)
Wood CutA relief process through which an (negative) image (made from lines of different thicknesses) is cut onto a block of wood, along the grain, with tools like: knives, gougers or chisels. The image is then inked with a roller, paper is applied to the surface and the back is then rubbed by hand or with a rubbing tool, transferring the image to the paper. (40,46)