Kimberly Pilgrim and Veronica Flowers, two Inuit women, have started a workshop series to conserve the traditional artistry of manufacturing black-bottom sealskin boots, a skill passed down through generations among the Inuit. The two, both university students, decided to hold workshops over the summer to discuss the full process of making these boots, from hunting seals to making the completed footwear. Kisiliginik Workshops means “to work with sealskin” in Inuktitut. The Ulnooweg Foundation funded the program, which began meeting three times a week on July 10.
The sealskins for the workshops were donated by Flowers’ family. This skill is considered a disappearing heritage, and the pair want to assure its continuation not just through training participants, but also by rewarding people in their community for sharing their knowledge. Pilgrim and Flowers are enthusiastic about spreading this expertise, with participants planning to put their knowledge into practice and pass it on to others, assuring the continuation of this traditional practice. Although the workshops may be put on hold owing to their school obligations, Pilgrim and Flowers want to revive them in the future and see the skills used broadly in the community.