By Barbara E. Kelcey
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Extra info for Alone in Silence: European Women in the Canadian North before 1940
60 Her presence provided the men she encountered with a “soft” aspect to their harsh environment and a visible link with the wives and families left in the south. She nursed them when they were sick and entertained them when they came to visit. She also taught shorthand to sailors wintering at Herschel in the mission school. QXD 8/10/2001 10:00 AM Page 26 26 alone in silence expected of herself. 61 She saw her place as beside her husband; he was already an Arctic missionary when she married him, and they shared a mutual vocation.
One woman explained that she and her husband had to sleep with the blanket over their heads. Another recalled how every night the bedroom fire had gone out, so she was always frozen when she was alone. QXD 8/10/2001 10:00 AM Page 23 Climate, Communications, and Isolation 23 possible to heat homes with a good stove, and in the Mackenzie Valley wood was available. On the coast, coal was imported as wood was scarce. Of course, heat generated in cozy cabins could cause a nightmarish predicament for anyone already suffering from claustrophobic conditions.
26 Now if Luta Munday had lived in a snowhouse, she would not have removed her furs until she retired for the night, just before she crawled onto the fur-lined sleeping platform with the entire family. But Mrs Munday lived in a heated cabin, which separated her culturally from the Inuit women at Chesterfield Inlet. Although she realized that outside the cabin her life depended on native dress, inside the cabin she needed to retain her own cultural and feminine identity. Luta Munday described native dress as being very similar for men and women, although the women’s kool-le-tang or atigi had a large hood in which to carry infants.