Celebrating Inuit!

Celebrating Inuit!

 In Blog

In the next few weeks, Qikiqtani Inuit Association is featuring Inuit  as we celebrate and recognize amazing Inuit who do great things.

Here’s our first story.

Mary Panipak grew up in an outpost camp near Pangnirtung. She started learning how to sew seal skin by helping her older sister stitching the back side of kamiit when she was a teenager.

She started making warm hunting clothing when she married her husband, clothing him with mitts and kamiit.

When she started having children, she was in the process of learning to make kamiit on her own and practiced making them for her children.

“It’s humbling as you learn and try” says Mary. She encourages young Inuit to keep trying and try more than once.

As Mary got more experienced making kamiit, she would think of how she would create her designs and looked at other people’s kamiit. She started creating her own style in the early 2000’s.

From there, Mary taught kamiit making classes through Tukisigiarvik.

She says in the beginning there was not a lot of interest, where sometimes she had one or two students.

Today the classes fill up fast and sometimes there isn’t enough space for all those interested.

Mary is encouraged by the interest as she wants younger generations to be able to continue teaching these skills to future generations.

Mary has been able to teach kamiit making in other regions since her work has become so popular.

“You can learn at any age, young or old, there is no age limit if you really want to” says Mary.

For her, sewing brings peace of mind and is good for mental wellbeing.




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