Bows with sinew backing were one of the most sophisticated hunting weapons of the Inuvialuit. The bow stave was often made from a single piece of spruce somewhat more than a metre in length, with a continuous piece of braided sinew laid along the back of the stave in several strands that wrapped around each end. The sinew strands were attached to the stave near each end with a series of hitches, and between these hitches the strands were twisted into two tight cables. The sinew backing added strength and elasticity to the bow. There were two main types of these bows. Simple bows when strung curve in an arc from one end to another. They were often used when hunting small animals and birds. Recurve bows are constructed so that the centre of the strung bow curves towards the archer then bends away at each end. The recurve shape together with the sinew backing made this type of bow a powerful tool for hunting large animals. Bowstrings were made from braided sinew.
Darrel Nasogaluak’s great-grandfather Kotokak hunted with sinew-backed bows. Darrel recalled hearing:
"One time when he was out on the ice with his dogs they were chased by a bear. He climbed onto a block of ice and shot an arrow that hit the bear on the side. The arrow went almost all the way through the bear, and came part way out the other side. The bows were that strong."
"Their bows (pitiktci) are made with three pieces of fir wood lashed together. The back is reinforced with a cord of reindeer sinew, which they tighten at will by means of little marlin-spikes (kréputark) always hanging from the quivers. The bows are short and very strong. The bows of young people are ogee arched [note - compound recurved]." ('The Amerindians of the Canadian Northwest in the 19th Century, as seen by Émile Petitot. Volume 1: The Tchiglit Eskimos', edited by Donat Savoie, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1971: p. 155)