Team Nunavut’s crocheted hats should be made in Pangnirtung: MLA

“In looking at the Pang hats, we shouldn’t allow bids from overseas to make these types of hats”

The Nunavut community of Pangnirtung is famous for its design and production of crocheted hats, commonly called “Pang” hats. Its MLA wants to make sure that the local arts centre provides Nunavut with the 355 hats that will be worn by Nunavut athletes to sporting events. (Photo courtesy of the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts)

By Jane George

If Team Nunavut wears crocheted hats to major sporting events, they should be made in Pangnirtung, says the community’s MLA, Margaret Nakashuk.

“One of the things for which Pangnirtung is world famous is our distinct style of hat, which is known as the Pang hats,” she said on June 5 in the Nunavut legislature during a member’s statement.

Nakashuk said she wanted to be sure that a recent request for proposal for 355 of these hats would be carried out in her home community.

“The Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts is located in beautiful Pangnirtung, and it is world famous and it employs a number of talented residents of the community,” she said.

Later, during question period, Nakashuk asked Lorne Kusugak, minister for community and government services, whether his department’s tendering process would ensure that these hats are “made in Pangnirtung by artists from Pangnirtung.”

Kusugak said Uqqurmiut could put in a tender and that the centre, a Nunavut Development Corp. business, could be “more than able to bid on those and they would get bid adjustments where they do qualify.”

But Nakashuk said the real issue is one about cultural authenticity.

“In looking at the Pang hats, we shouldn’t allow bids from overseas to make these types of hats,” she said.

“Can the minister clarify how the government’s procurement process takes this into account then?”

But Kusugak told her Pangnirtung “is not the only one that makes those Pang hats.”

“I’ve got two in fact that were made by my daughter,” he said.

The only assurance Kusugak would offer Nakashuk is that the Government of Nunavut’s procurement policies give priority to companies or individuals from Nunavut.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Gobble Gobble on

    You’d have to look at the tender document itself to see what the requirements of the hat are, but if one of the requirements is not that the hats are hand made, then it’s likely the winning tender will not be from Pang. What’s the cheapest somebody can hand-make a Pang hat? For materials and a fair wage? $50? More? Let’s say it’s $50. That’s $17,750 for 355 hats, then you get yours 21% discount or whatever it is so your tender amount is just over $14,000, or about $39.50 per hat.

    I’m willing to bet some commercial producer is out there willing to sell a bulk order of 355 hats in this style for $30 each or less. Money out of the territory, for things that people here make, and make well, and are always looking for buyers for. Some of those people capable of making nice Pang hats then might have to head down to the local IA Office for a monthly cheque.

    If the GN awards this tender out of territory, they’ve done a disservice.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      $50 a hat? LOL try $75! And that is the “retail” price, given that it would be government buying them in the time honored northern tradition at least 20% to 30% would be tagged on to the price of each hat pushing them well past $100 a pop. And people wonder why large scale consumers don’t buy from Northern companies

      • Posted by Gobble Gobble on

        $50 was my very conservative estimate. You’re right, that it’s probably more like $75, which makes it even more unlikely that this tender would go to craftspeople in Nunavut. At $75 per hat, the bid reductions they would get for the NNI policy would take each hat down to probably around the $55-$59 range. Easy to beat for out-of-territory manufacturers.

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