About Shirley’s Design
The Inuvialuit Amauti would normally have the sunburst made from wolverine and wolf, as those were the most durable and warm furs that would last the harsh climate. The wolf part of the sunburst is cut from the longest part of the wolf, cut into tiny pieces and matched in colour to line up nicely. For this project, I have used dyed red fox fur.
The trimming, which is known as the Delta braid, has been made with tiny pieces of bias tape cut and geometrically sewn to create a pattern.
Some of the tools, that are my heirlooms, I have inherited are the tanning tools. One was used by my great grandmother Mamie Mamayauq. I believe her husband Ilaviniq made it for her. The other belonged to my mother’s mother Topsy Ikiuna, which I believe was made by my great-grandfather Billy Banksland. They both have the driftwood handles, so that tells me they were made while they lived here on the mainland.
My Inuvialuktun name is Mimirlina, English name is Shirley Elias. I was born and raised in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories. My parents and my great-grandmother migrated from Kittigaaryuit, by Tuktoyaktuk. Growing up, I was taught to cut out and put together parkas. My great-grandmother Mamie Mamayauq taught me the skills and I practiced while playing, making clothing for my dolls.
My father Wallace Goose was raised by my great-grandmother. She was always in our home as I grew up. Mamie was a seamstress for the Vilhjalmur Stefansson Expedition in the early 1900s. My mother also taught me a lot, as she was an artist herself. Her father was Billy Banksland, who was a guide for the Vadjimur Stefansson Expedition. My mother did a lot of qupak work, which is the intricate trimming detail you will see on the parka I have completed. She is who I picked up that skill from. Later on, as I matured, I started learning the art of working with fur. I learned how to tan the hide piece and put them together, like on the sunburst.