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Greenland Arctic Fashions
Of course the
weather dictated what we wore. For office work and living indoors we wore
our comfortable winter uniforms made of wool, or equal weight civilian pants
and long sleeve shirts. The always present parka with hood, plus gloves,
was sufficient for trips between buildings. High top shoes, with a gripping
sole, was the normal foot ware.
During the summer months - both of them ;-) - the temperature was
a tolerable 45 to 55 F degrees (7 to 13 C). The parka was a little too hot
if one walked very far in it. Thick shirts, sweaters and/or jackets were
When we went out in the below freezing temperatures
our wool uniform was covered with padded coveralls. On our feet we wore boots
we called mukluks.
They were about 5 sizes too big so we could wear up to 6 pairs of wool socks.
Mukluks were made of canvas and had rubber soles with a thick inner felt lining.
I liked them for the dog sled rides, but they were not made for walking
The Greenlander men on the trail usually wore knee-length trousers
made from polar bear skin. The fur is water proof and buoyant, should the
hunter fall into the water.They were very lucky to have even one pair of
these trousers because polar bears were very scarce and hard to find and
kill. Many had parkas made of seal and fox skin. Under these skins they wore
imported cloth parkas, coats, and knit sweaters, usually from Denmark. The
men wore knee high boots made out of seal skin with the fur on the inside
that they called kamik.
Many of the women wore hip-high seal skin boots,
with the fur on the inside and trimmed in white rabbit or fox fur. For a
more dressy look the skin is bleached white and trimmed with polar bear
The outfit this mother is wearing is made of
This is traditional Greenlandic ceremonial dress worn by Lone Thryse now
living in the Qaanaaq area (1998) with her husband Jan. With her in this
picture is a Greenlandic friend.
This young boy was like any other boy his age anywhere in the world.
He enjoyed playing with me and liked me taking his picture wearing a G.I.
cap. He was wearing wool clothing, man-size skin boots and no gloves.
Every time we went off base we took all of our survival
gear with us in the truck. Here is the full dress outfit. I never had to
wear the face mask but wore the other stuff many times.
The worst thing that happened to me in the
cold was when I once looked down and my moist lip touched the cold metal
zipper on my parka. My lip froze to the zipper for a few seconds until the
zipper warmed up! I lost a little skin. Also my camera froze up a few times
when it was out from under my parka too long.
Once one of the officers was
standing outside with some new arrivals and telling them how dangerous the
cold was. As he talked he had his parka hood down. He ended up with frost
bitten ears! One of the visitors there was a reporter from the London Times
who told the story in his column with typical British humor about how the
American officer bravely demonstrated the dangers for them.
||The Inuits were authorized to shop in the base store, as part of the agreement to establish the base. This proud father bought a tie for his son at the base store.
is something to ponder. Is it anymore unusual for an Inuit to wear that piece
of cloth (called a tie) around his neck than it is for us to wear it around
© 2007 Larry Rodrigues. All rights reserved.