I’ve been working lately on a story for a famous tabletop gaming franchise, which includes a detailed Arctic/”People of the North” setting. There’s always a bit of ethnographic research that goes into any story I write, especially if it which involves a culture very different from my own.
I like to have as clear an image as possible about daily life for the characters I’m writing about, and how they’re likely to react under stress. So needless to say I was pretty thrilled when a friend of mine linked me to this little article about how the Inuit people of Greenland carve detailed coastal maps made of driftwood!
This detail doesn’t apply perfectly to the situation I’m writing about at the moment, but it’s still such an elegant solution to a problem of life in the North that I found it very inspiring. Here is a method of mapping a region when you don’t have a written language, paper/hides or ink…and a map you can easily use without a light source, or even having to take off your mitten.
This is the kind of detail that reminds you that every culture is full of brilliant solutions to common problems.
I love humankind. We’re a great species.