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

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In the Home

Kenurraq Clay Lamp

Clay Lamp
Anchorage Museum 1979.117.019

Clay lamp from Nightmute with grass lamp holder made by Albertina Dull.

Frank Andrew noted: "Lamps were hung from the posts with braided sinew or skin. There were four of them, and they were held with twined grass. All the posts in the house had lamps. They would seem bright."

Kumarulluut Dried-Moss Lamp Wicks


Moss Wicks

Dried-moss lamp wicks were also dipped in seal oil and used as fire starters. Theresa Moses remembered using them as flashlights: "They took a piece dipped in seal oil, and if they went out to the food cache at night, they used it as a light."


Ann Fienup-Riordan, 2007, Nelson Island

  Ipuun Ladle


G. B. Gordon, 1907, Kuskokwim, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology NA1429

Angassaq Ladle



Ladle from the Kuskokwim, decorated with a toothy-mouthed creature. Frank Andrew said, "Decorations varied on different people's things, and each had their own emblem from their ancestors."


S. Jackson, 1890s, Sheldon Jackson Museum IIS004

  Ipuutek Ladles

Ipuutek/Ladles from the Kuskokwim, probably made by the same man and displaying his family design. Willie Kamkoff compared these designs to signatures: "They did not write their names on things but made decorations for identification using their ancestors' marks."

1890s, Sheldon Jackson Museum IIS007, IIS012

Luuskaq Spoon



Spoon with a common Kuskokwim design that also appears on bowls and dishes.


G. B. Gordon, 1907, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology NA1438

  Taavtaaq Cockle Shell Spoon

Cockle shell used as a spoon. Frank Andrew recalled: "We never threw them away but put them in grass containers with the other spoons and hung them. Those elders had wooden spoons, but we young people had shells."

Cockle Spoon
Ann Fienup-Riordan, 2007, Nelson Island

Passin Pestle



Pestle carved from a walrus tusk with eagle-head handle. Paul John recalled: "I watched my grandmother use a pestle to crush needlefish inside a wooden bowl, removing their little spikes. She'd also use it to crush fish liver she was getting ready to make akutaq. Women used this tool for many tasks."


J. A. Jacobsen, 1882, Ethnologisches Museum Berlin IVA5427


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