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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   133

some phases of the work, and in some respects excel the Lapps; they can lasso better than the Lapps, and many become expert in making harness and sleds. The minding of the herd requires constant vigilance, especially in the spring during the fawning season. Then the herders have to keep watch day and night by turns with rifle to protect the her d from the ravages of the Arctic wolf and the dogs.

In the ear of each Government deer a little aluminum button is fastened securely, and all private owners and herders have a mark which must be registered with a local Superintendent of the Reindeer Station and also at Washington. Besides being taught the art of deermanship the apprentices are instructed in keeping accounts, the methods of marketing reindeer, and in other practical matters connected with the industry. No apprentice can become a herder unless he is proficient in the branches of elementary reading, arithmetic, and writing. At the end of his apprenticeship the young Eskimo native is allotted a number of deer by the Government, and with the increase obtained during the interval of his five years' service, each apprentice will have on an aver-age, a herd of fifty reindeer. As this herd will double itself every three years, the graduate apprentice will have a herd which will afford and assure a self-supporting income quite enough to satisfy the economic wants of himself and family in the future. He is thus established in business by the Government and is given free pasturage thereafter. The reindeer produces one fawn in the spring each year for ten years.

Among the useful and profitable products of the reindeer are the skins for clothing. Of these pelts most varied use is made. From them are fashioned the tight-fitting trousers and that wonderful outer garment, the `parka', universally worn in winter by both male and female natives and by many whites. The `parka' extends to the knees and has a close-fitting hood, which keeps the head and shoulders comfortably warm even in the severest weather. These reindeer garments are r emarkable for their excellent qualities of resisting moisture and cold. A close examination of the hair of reindeer furnishes an explanation of its peculiar value. The hair is not merely a hollow tubular structure, with a cavity extending throughout its entire length, but is divided, or partitioned off, into exceedingly numerous cells, like watertight compartments. These are filled with air, and their walls are so elastic and at the same time of such strong resistance that they are not broken up either during the process of manufacture or by swelling when wet. The cells expand in water, and thus it happens that a person clad completely in garments made of reindeer wool does not sink when in water, because he is buoyed up by the air contained in the hundreds of thousands of hair cells.


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