AT THE WINTER SEA ICE CAMP

part 3

Quentin Brown
Canada 1963-1964 | 30 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU
Q&A with:
Asen Balikci

Work begins on a big com­mu­ni­ty igloo, and all share in the build­ing of it; one cuts, one car­ries, one builds, and so on. The chil­dren imi­tate. Women pile snow on the igloo, toss­ing it up from shovel to shovel. Ice sheets are installed for light. The men return to their seal­ing and the women to duties or play. In the large living space of the igloo, activ­i­ties are easy to see. An infant uses the sharp ulu as con­fi­dent­ly as any adult to cut bite-size meat or fish. A game of blind man’s bluff begins between women and chil­dren. This is fol­lowed by spear-the-peg, where a toggle-sized peg is sus­pend­ed and play­ers with baton-sized spears attempt to strike the hole in the peg as it turns. Now fish is sliced and eaten. In the blue dusk, the snow smokes over the ice, and the men come home. A man drags in a seal and a woman sucks on ice and then drips the water into the mouth of a dead animal. The flesh is then divid­ed, with each woman car­ry­ing away some in seal­skin bags. The dogs enter to clean up, and the men then try their games of strength.