Yuungnaqpiallerput - The Way We Genuinely Live - Masterworks of Yup'ik Science and Survival

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Working with Wood

Working in the Qasgi
Ferdinand Drebert, Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA.

Frank Andrew's father, Andrew Min'garalria (far left), Cimigaq (Adolf Jimmie's father), and Cingarturta (Paul Paul) working in the qasgi in Kwigillingok, 1930s.

Atam uksumi, tua-i December aam maani kinguani, January-m maani nangyartullranek ayagluku qayarkanek-llu up'ngetullrulriit. Tua-i aturkaitnek-gguq upengluteng, up'ngulluki.

Akluteng-llu assivlalriit cimirkiurluki tua-i piqainaurrluki tekipailgan. Qasgi tua-i tamatum nalliini, iluani tua-i calilriaruaqluni. Muragnimek tepengluni qasgi tua-i. Acia tua-i maqarpak canillernek.

Now during winter, sometime after December, at the end of January, they started preparing kayak parts. They'd begin making clothing and getting ready for the spring hunt.

And they'd begin making replacements for garments and implements that were in poor condition, and they got them ready before the hunting season arrived. During that time, the qasgi would be filled with men working. The qasgi would be filled with the scent of driftwood. And the floor around the fire pit would be covered with wood shavings.

--Frank Andrew, Kwigillingok


Late winter and early spring were times of preparation. While women worked in their homes, sewing new clothing, men worked in the qasgi carving and repairing the tools they would use in the months ahead.

Kepun AdzAdz


Adz- An essential tool used to chop and plane wood.


L- 12 1/2 in
W- 4 in
H- 1 in


National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution 6575

Mellgar Crooked KnifeCrooked Knife


Carvers used the blade to smooth and finish rough cut wood, and the bone or antler handle tip to split strips of straight grained wood.


L- 10 1/4 in
H- 2 in
D- 1 in


A. Martin, 1930s, Kwigillingok
Gift of the Anchorage Museum Association,
Anchorage Museum 2007.009.011

Ciklaq AxAx


From the lower Yukon River for splitting wood.


H- 22 1/2 in
W- 16 1/2 in
H- 3 1/4 in


Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology,
University of California, Berkeley 2 4044

Aivagun WedgeWedge


Made of antler, used to split wood. The upper example is made from whetstone.

Wassilie Berlin said: "Personally I can't do without wedges. I have assorted kinds at home."


L- 4 in
W- 1 1/2 in
H- 1 1/4 in

L- 4 1/2 in
W- 1 1/2 in
D- 1 in


A. Anariak, Anchorage Municipal Acquisition Fund, Anchorage Museum 1979.076.019



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