Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

The Dorset Culture in Manitoba

The Dorset Culture in Manitoba
Installed 1991
Eskimo Museum
243 La Verendrye Avenue, Churchill

People of the Dorset Culture occupied vast stretches of Canada's Far North from about 1000 B.C. to 1000 A.D. Their settlements extended as far south as the shores of Hudson Bay near Churchill, and to the south coast of Newfoundland—the most southerly extension of any known Native arctic culture. In the winter they hunted seals, walrus, and possibly beluga whales. They spent the summers on the coast or inland hunting caribou and catching char and salmon.

Depending upon the season, the Dorset people lived in igloos, tents, or rectangular houses partially built in the ground. They created many ingenious devices to adapt to their harsh environment including harpoons, ice crampons, ivory sled runners, delicate fish spears, lances tipped with ground slate and chipped stone points, and snow knives. Their wood, bone and ivory carvings, like modern Inuit art, represent sacred or mythological beings, spirit and monsters, as well as animals that were important to their economy.