Don't Wake the Polar Bear
The Inuit build these temporary snow houses when hunting or caught in a blizzard. Rectangular blocks are cut from the right type of snow. These blocks are placed in a circle, layer on layer, in a spiral pattern to form a dome shape. Any openings or cracks are filled with snow. Once complete, a door is cut out and a tunnel entrance made. A sheet of ice can be used for a window to let in light. Inside a floor is made by pushing aside the snow to create a sleeping platform. The air is warmer above the ground.
The ulu is used by women to scrape animal skins, slice meat or cut furs. The blades used to be made of sharp stone or copper, but are now steel.
Usually worn between April and July, snow goggles were made to rest on the nose (like glasses), and had narrow slits that protected the eyes from the sunlight reflecting off snow. The goggles were made of wood, bone or ivory.
The kudlik, or soapstone lamp, was used for light, heat, cooking and drying clothes. Caribou fat or seal oil was burned, with a wick made from a plant called Arctic cotton.
Inuit boots are made out of caribou skins for cold weather. Shaved seal skin is used for wet conditions, and haired seal skin for dry conditions.
Warm clothes were necessary for survival. Inuit women were excellent sewers who used copper needles, kept in a bone needle case, and split sinew (animal intestines or tendons) as thread to make their clothing.
Harpoon heads made of wood, antler, stone, bone or metal were attached to a shaft with braided sinew. Light in weight, the harpoon was used to hunt seal or walrus. Larger harpoons were used to hunt whales.
For more on igloos and the Inuit, check out the Books and Links section.