The Utku used Kapluna supplies a lot in order to heat and cook food. Briggs supplied kerosene and a primus stove to aid in the actual cooking of the food, but also supplied raisins, flour, tobacco and other “Kapluna” food that was essential to the Utku which they would not have otherwise. Warmth was, I think, the most important factor that Briggs talked about in the survival of the Utku. The men played a huge role in keeping the qaqmaq warm. For example, when the men went away on their trips to Gjoa Haven there was a noticeable difference in the temperatures of the qaqmaqs.
Briggs stated, “Only when I was left for the first time with Allaq and the children in the igloo during Inuttiaq’s absence in Gjoa Haven did I realize how genuine was the concern with warmth…. I realized, too, how complex were the causes of the chill that prevailed when the men were away (Briggs 1970: 102). ” This shows to me that the men were very essential in keeping the community stable during the winter. Without the men, many of the Utku members could have become to cold to perform many of the tasks needed to survive.
“Warmth was enhanced when the men and women of the family were together (Briggs 1970: 96). ” Many times throughout the book it states how the women’s fingers were sometimes to cold to sew or cook. Without the men, I think the community could have struggled greatly during the cold winters. Women were also very vital to keeping their family warm.
One of the main examples of this is when a woman would have a young baby. She would carry the baby around in her parka all day to keep the child warm through her own body warmth. Also, the women keep the qaqmaq warm by making tea and bannock for the men.Another important role that an Utku woman has is that she scrapes and sews the skins in order to make blankets, parkas, and fawn skins for the men and children before winter. She makes and repairs the mittens and boots for her family also. The family needs these items to stay warm during the winter and therefore they are essential to their society. The third factor that I felt was significant to the Utku society was the protectiveness of the Utku towards one another. The parents were extremely protective towards their children.
They were most concerned when a family member was hungry, cold, or in danger of physical injury (Briggs 1970: 320). For example, a father builds an iglu for his family because he wants to protect and shield them from the cold and wind. Therefore the children and wife are dependent on the father to keep them safe during the winter.
Also, parents feel it necessary to tell their children when they are close to black ice or get too close to the dogs. This helps the child to learn to be observant of his/her surroundings and they therefore rely on this knowledge for their survival.I think that Allaq and Inuttiaq were very protective over Briggs just because she was unable to perform most tasks necessary for survival. Many times the Utku would tell her that, “You are a Kapluna, and alone here among people, you are someone to be taken care of (Briggs 1970: 185). ” Even though Briggs and Inuttiaq had their differences at the end of her stay, Inuttiaq knew that she was his “daughter” and therefore felt it necessary to protect her and help her. I also think that Inuttiaq still helped her because he did care for her and also it was very un-Utku like to not be generous and helpful.
I think this shows that Inuttiaq and Briggs both greatly depended on each other. Briggs depended on Inuttiaq for advice on how to live in the Utku world and Innutiaq and the rest of the community depended on Briggs for her “kapluna” supplies. These three principles: food, warmth, and protection are clearly evident in proving that the Utku society does depend on each other to survive. Each member, no matter the age or gender, has a specific role in the Utku band. Due to the Utku’s distinctive interaction within their community, they have continued to survive throughout many generations.