Genuine sealskin ookpik or snowy owl doll from the early 1960s. Made in one of a number of small communities in the former Canadian Northwest Territories, by people then known as Eskimos, now more rightly called by their own name, Inuit.
Ookpik is the fuzzy, saucer-eyed version of the Arctic owl. Designed by a (then) Eskimo woman in Fort Chimo, N.W.T., it became a symbol of the North. First produced in small towns and villages by collectives of women, they showed up in gift shops across Canada and were promoted by the Government at trade fairs in the mid 1960s. Eventually cheaper versions made of plush were produced to meet the overwhelming demand and like all fads, the ookpik eventually faded away from everywhere but the North.
This one is a genuine sealskin piece from the early 1960s produced by one of a number of collectives throughout Northern Canada for sale at specialty gift shops in tourist districts in southern . It is 5 inches tall (127 mm) and still has the original tag hanging around the neck that states it was made by an Eskimo, although the details were never filled in. The eyes and beak are made of some kind of hide, if not seal then likely caribou. It is in good shape with one balding spot at the back where the tail would be if there was a tail and the tag it came with is in pretty bad shape and has been taped back onto the string.
A more Canadian souvenir there could not be! I mean, look at that face!
Check out Richard Molyneux's blog "Wrongly Wired"
http://richardmolyneux.blogspot.com/2008/06/oh-ookpik-now-i-feel-like-true-canadian.html for more information about Ookpiks!
I ship anywhere!
Shipping for this ookpik to US destinations is $8.00 US. For Canadian and international destinations, please contact me for an accurate price for delivery to your specific location.