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

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Skin Boat

Skin Boat


Skin boat made of split cottonwood and willow, and covered with one bear skin and two caribou skins, sewn together with a waterproof stitch. The oar is made from a moose shoulder blade.

Paul John said: "They built them only to use when returning home. They went up to the mountains in spring without boats, but their plan was to come back down after the ice broke up. While they were up there hunting, they tried to catch enough caribou or bears to make a boat with their skins."


L- 158 in
W- 55 in
H- 19 in


Made by Joe Spein and John Alexie of Kwethluk, 2007
Anchorage Museum Association Acquisition Fund, Anchorage Museum 2007,
and Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center and Museum

Men Traveling by Skin Boat

Photo: Lind Collection

Men traveling by skin boat. Wassilie Evan said: "If they caught just one large animal, they put it in the boat and brought it, or they hung it to dry, making it lighter. They would also put their dogs in or take them on foot following the river."

Fall Mountains

Photo: Josh Spice, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
Large background photo The upper Kwethluk River in falltime, 2007.

Spein Mountain in Spring

Photo: Joe Spein

Snow in the mountains near the headwaters of the Kwethluk River, April 1993.

Bear Boat

Photo: Joe Spein

Kwethluk elders watch Joe Spein put the last floor board on a large boat frame, 1989.


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No Replication of Images or Design without Express Written Permission.