Chapter: What We Can't Live Without

Ulu bladed tool

"A multi-tool for the ages"
Inuit Ulu bladed tool of trade metal, given at young age & used domestically daily Ulu


Life in Northern Manitoba is not without its challenges. With limited resources it only makes sense that tools are able to do more than one thing. The ulu is such a multi-functional tool.

The ulu, with its semi-lunar blade, is regarded as one of the most important domestic tools and was given to girls at a young age. Inuit women would often have multiple types of uluit to help with their work, which included sewing, cutting skins, flensing (slicing the skin or fat from a carcass, like that of a whale), chopping plants, butchering animals, and even cutting hair.

An ulu was originally made of a ground slate blade set in a handle made from wood, ivory, antler or bone. Metal was incorporated for the blade when it became available through trade. The ulu is a striking symbol of the hard work done by generations of women in the Arctic and how a well made tool can survive through the ages as it's still in use today.