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When Helen Kalvak Elihakvik school principal Patrick MacIntyre was doing his annual inventory, he didn’t expect to find a piece of history in the building’s storage unit.

A child’s parka that was found in storage at Helen Kalvak Elihakvik school has the community of Ulukhaktok buzzing with questions of where it came from and who made it.
Photo courtesy Patrick MacIntyre

But while tidying up the Ulukhaktok public school Oct. 4, MacIntyre came across a child’s parkie that is very old — though no one knows exactly how old or who made it, or even where it came from.

“I posted the image to Social media yesterday morning around 9 A.M.,” said MacIntyre. “It hit 4,600 views by this morning, 16 shares, but no one has reached out with any information on it. I plan to do a followup at someone point but that could take time.

“It is extremely fragile. It should not be removed from the display case, the parka is extremely dry and could easily tear.”

A parka found in storage is now on display in case built by Gary Okheena to protect it from the elements. No one knows how old the parkie is, but it’s fragile enough that it should not be handled.
Photo courtesy Patrick MacIntyre

MacIntyre said the parkie was made out of caribou fur with a felt design and wolverine trimmings. By the size, he estimated it to be made for a child aged one to three years of old.

Since moving the coat would be difficult and would also require permission from several groups, including the Beaufort Delta Education Council, the Ulukhaktok District Education Authority and the Community Council, to be shipped out for examination, the parkie will instead remain on display in the foyer at the school until a decision can be made on how to proceed.

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To house the fragile artifact, another staff member, Gary Okheena, build a display case to protect it from the elements.

“The display case is durable and well built,” said MacIntyre. “It has the Parka very secure in order to preserve this beautiful piece.”

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Eric Bowling

Covering all things related to the Beaufort Delta, Eric Bowling is your editor for the Inuvik Drum. He came north after cutting his teeth in Alberta. Eric enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee.

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2 Comments

  1. Could this be my parka? My Dad worked as Maintainer for the Govt between 1965-1974. After a death in the family my parents relocated to Coppermine leaving behind some belongings in storage.

  2. To properly display this very old artifact I suggest contacting the archivist at Prince of Wales Museum…Looks like it is displayed on the raw wood from which oils can possibly seep. Museum glass can also prevent deterioration from light…I am not a professional in these matters, but I do know great care should be taken to preserve it.

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