Winnie was born in 1920 in the community of Tavani located between Arviat and Rankin Inlet. Her father, Samuel Voisey, worked for the Hudson Bay Company. Her mother, Nancy, was of Inuit descent so Winnie became fluent in both English and Inuktitut.

“I learned how to sew and make parkas from my mother at age four. Both my mother and father taught me how to hunt. I remember getting my first caribou when I was in my early teens.”

In 1938 Winnie married Tom Crawford at Eskimo Point (now Arviat). Employed by the H.B.C. the couple worked in many communities in the north. In Coral Harbor Winnie acted as a mid-wife, sometimes going by dog team to deliver children. In Churchill they kept two polar bear cubs for several months. The bears had been sent down from Coral Harbor after losing their mother. In 1965 Tom Crawford moved to Winnipeg to become District Manager for all the northern Hudson Bay Company stores.

Winnie is a very easy going woman who enjoyed living in the north. “It is cold so you just dress for it. I didn’t mind moving every few years to different communities.” William Robinson described Winnie in ‘Novice in the North’ as a remarkable women, ‘Friendly, generous, resourceful and fluent in both English and Inuktitut, she made an excellent wife for a Hudson Bay man.’


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Winnie Crawford
Inuit, Winnipeg
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 575