National Geographic : 1964 May
to remove any bead that would furrow a hide. Some Eskimo women want their favorite ulu to be buried with them. An Eskimo woman with a sharp ulu may be able to flesh 16 fox pelts a day. But it is close, delicate work, one false move re ducing the grade of the fur. Once afoxfurisfleshed,itisputona stretcher and placed on overhead stringers in the kitchen to dry. When dry, it is hung like laundry on a clothesline and allowed to air outside for several days. $4,000 Clothesline Only a few furs were that far along during my visit to Sachs Harbour. Peter Sydney, who mar ried Fred's half sister Susie, had a dozen or more fox pelts on his clothesline. "Come back in July," Peter told me, "and I will show you a $4,000 clothesline." This was no idle boast, for white fox pelts were selling as high as $40 apiece. Fleshing sealskins is also a woman's job. "It is messy work," Mary Elias, wife of islander Angus Elias, told us. It is done outdoors, since the blubber re moved from the skin is thick and gooey. After fleshing, the seal skin (which, if first class, sells for $18) is stretched flat between stakes pounded into the ground. Women also flesh polar bear skins (page 709). These huge skins have a coarse residue of fat on them. It takes two women at least three hours to do an average hide. Then the skins are hung outside for some weeks so that the wind Frozen Kellett River becomes a dog team's highway. Snow ridges take shape behind wind-lashed pebbles. No pampered pet's life awaits these sled-dog pups, pride of Peter Sydney of Banks Island. Strictly draft ani mals, they will be no more welcome in the Eskimo's house than a walrus, but are treasured as future members of a nine-dog team. EKTACHROME(LEFT) BY CLYDE HARE AND KODACHROMEBY WINFIELDPARKS E N.G.S.