Council for Museum Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Connecting with cultural material in museum collections is very valuable, especially for cultural revitalization efforts by Indigenous peoples. Sometimes it is less commonly known cultural materials that are often overlooked or forgotten that are particularly important for strengthening Indigenous people's cultural connections to their ancestors. Miqqutiit (needles) is one such example. Miqqutiitare very important to Inuit culture as they enabled Inuit to create very warm clothing, ensuring not only survival in the Arctic's harsh environment, but more importantly ensured the prospering of Inuit culture, language and traditions. Sewing and skin working remains a strong practice for Inuit today, and though the technologies most commonly used have changed through time, it is easy for Inuit to connect with miqqutiit. Building on previous work around Kakpiit (needle cases) Zawadski is revitalizing knowledge about miqqutiit through museum collections research in the Government of Nunavut Heritage Collections (GNHC), including how to make bird bone needles. The GNHC holds a considerable number of bird bone needles and fragments in this collection with which Zawadski is using to develop her research.