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28 August 2013

Polar Bear Trousers (Nanu Uliivia Qaaliguu)

Thankfully our summers are short because the anticipation of a new winter is always on my mind. If I'm not thinking about winter, memories of past journeys and expectation of future ones fills the brain.

It snowed here the other day and with it came the thrill that never changes; winter is coming at last.

In terms of dog sledding history the snow, cold, ice and dangers are all the same as they always were but in a bygone age they did dress differently. Skins were worn more often to keep dog drivers warm and safe.
Winter is coming.
There is one item of clothing that symbolizes the Greenlandic dog driver like no other; polar bear trousers. In the Greenlandic dialect unique to Ittoqqortoormiit polar bear trousers are called nanu uliivia qaaliguu, trimmed with ringed seal they have pockets plus a button fly.

Greenlandic needlework quality is always under close scrutiny by womenfolk and the competition is keen within Greenland. The standard is exceptional and intricate, probably because it is also culturally a way for a woman to express her love for the recipient. It is clever and painstaking work. To receive a pair is clear indication that you are loved.

Watch out for the next gear article representative of Greenlandic dog driving history.

For more about Gary and his dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com

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