Boy's combination suit (atajuq), made by Catherine Arnatsiaq

Iglulingmiut, about AD 1976
From Igloolik, Nunavut, eastern Canadian Arctic

This combination suit (atajuq) of light and thin caribou summer fur was made in Igloolik by Catherine Arnatsiaq for her four-year-old son in about 1976.

Inuit children's clothes were traditionally made of the soft skin of young animals. Spending the first years of its life in its mother's amauti, a baby's first set of clothes might consist of a hood, jacket, and small boots. When about two or three years old, a child would begin to wear an atajuq, a combination suit. Boys' and girls' outfits were different in style, as Rosie Iqallijuq from Igloolik explains:

'There are two types of combination suits: with a front slit, or with a back slit. A girl's atajuq usually had the slit at the front, because on the back, there was her little back flap, the aku. Boys' suits had the slit at the back. The slits had ties to close them, and fur trimmings to keep out the draft ... The little girls' outfits usually had attached hoods, the boys' outfits had detached hoods out of white caribou belly fur and leg fur.'
Rosie Iqallijuq, 1997

As children grew older, their clothing began to resemble that of the adults.

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More information


J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

B.K. Issenman, Sinew of survival: the living (Vancouver, UBC Press, 1997)

J.E. Oakes and R. Riewe, Our boots: an Inuit womans art (New York, Thames and Hudson, 1996)


Length: 70.000 cm
Width: 45.000 cm (at shoulders)

Museum number

AOA 1986.Am10.28a



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