Inuk artist creates new life from roadkill

Annette Francis
APTN National News
Manitok Thompson has been working with a lot of animals lately … the ones killed by the side of the road.

“I just like to use the skin because my father who was unilingual would be disgusted to see an animal on the side of the road and nobody picked it up to make something out of it,” said Thompson.

Ever since Thompson moved to Carleton Place, a small town west of Ottawa, last September, she started collecting roadkill.

“I’ve been doing roadkill skins and just trying to make something out of the roadkill,” she said.

Thompson, originally from Coral Harbour, Nunavut, said it’s unheard of to just throw away a dead animal.

So far she’s gathered, or been given deer, beaver, coyote, and plenty of raccoons.

She tans the skins herself. The animals here are different than at home, so she’s had to experiment. Thompson came up with her own concoction of laundry soap and oil.

“I’ve done a lot of sort of experimental stuff,” she said. “Just rubbing it on the skins, tying it up and let it soak overnight.”

Thompson has made some useful items, like hats, or mitts. She’s sold some and donated other items.

“Like the parka I made with the raccoon fur. I’m donating it to a hockey team from my hometown, they’re going to Yellowknife, they can raise enough money right now so I’m I’ve donated stuff to sports teams to get them out of their little towns and experience something else,” she said.

Thompson wanted to share these skills so she opens up her home ever Saturday to people who want to “think outside the box.”

“Sometimes I’ve had ten people, I’ve had people in my sewing room, I have ladies there, I have two other lady friends, Inuit friends that are doing skins over there because there’s a lot of blood. This is not a clean job and I have ladies here cutting mittens or parkas and I’m teaching them how to do this and other ladies teaching them how to do skins,” said Thompson.

According to Thompson, since the word’s gotten out, there’s been a lot interest in her roadkill creations. She’s also been invited to Norway to reach the process of tanning and crafting.

“It’s creativity, innovation, thinking outside the box, you can make something out of that dead raccoon and sell it for $150.00, if you can do the skill you can make money, we’re survivors,” she said.


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1 thought on “Inuk artist creates new life from roadkill

  1. So true, we are survivors. I always admired Manitok Thompson for all her contributions in the North and now this project. Innovative & Creative especially sharing and caring which is a huge part of our cultural ways. I hope the younger generation learn from this great lady. Mahsi’

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