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

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Things Made from Animals

Women and Children dressed in Furs

Courtesy, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, L2287, Dr. Leuman M. Waugh, 1935

Women and children in fur parkas made from animals trapped and hunted on the land.

Imarmiutaat tua-i cuignilnguut-llu, kanaqliit-llu atkuutullruut maani. Nunamiutaat imkut maqanruut. Kaviaret-llu, uliiret-llu maqartut atkukellrit.

Mink, otter, and muskrat skins were used as parkas around here. Fur from land animals was warmer than other kinds of skin. Red-fox and white-fox skin parkas were warm.

--Frank Andrew, Kwigillingok

Uingekumta-gguq, ikgelengraan amilek atkuutuli, atauciungraan pegtevkenaku assirluku pikilaput. Atam-gguq tuaten piurqumta ilangurluni, kiituan-gguq atkugkanrurtuq, ayuqenrilngermeng, tamacenaungermeng.

They said that when we got a husband, even if a few animals were caught that could be used as a parka, or even if it was just one, we were told to take good care of it and put it away and not just leave it out anywhere. They said that we'd eventually have enough to make a parka, even though they were different kinds of skins.

--Theresa Moses, Toksook Bay

Women worked long and hard sewing animal pelts into warm and sturdy parkas, hats, boots, and pants to keep their families warm and dry. Men worked equally hard supplying their wives with skins to clothe their families, noting that it was shameful to let ones spouse lack material to work on.

Qaliluuk Parka



Man's hoodless caribou skin parka from the Yukon. Theresa Moses said: "Men's clothing, especially their hunting clothes, never fit snugly. We try to make the body large and the sleeve top large and heavy duty, thinking about when he will try to quickly put his arm through."

Phoebe Apperson
Hearst Museum of Anthropology,
University of California, Berkeley 2-6384

  Qaliq Mink parka

Qaliq/Mink parka made for Elizabeth Nicolai of Kwethluk.

Paul John said, "She would make her daughter in law a parka using her own design, like transferring her design." When a young woman entered the qasgi wearing such a parka and carrying food to a young man, all understood them to be husband and wife.

Mink Parka
J. Messick, 1959, UA Museum of the North 68-008-0001

Nasqurrun Bear Claw Headdress


Bear Claw Headdress

Bear Claw Head dress from Igushak, valued reminder of a successful hunt. Wassilie Evan recalled, "They say that brown bears have ears through the ground. When people talk aabout how dangerous they are, that bear would say, 'Ah, why do they say that we are dangerous, as if they aren't dangerous themselves.'"

Applegate, 1886, Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution 127327

  Nasqurrun Ermine headdress

Ermine headdress from Bristol Bay.

Ermine Headdress
W. J. Fisher, 1884, Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution 90451

Aasgaak Caribou Skin Dancing Gloves



Caribou-skin dancing gloves from the lower Yukon River, embroidered with seal-throat-skin "fingernails."

J. A. Jacobsen, 1882, Ethnologisches Museum Berlin IVA4291

  Piluguuk Boots

Boots made of caribou leg skins were sewn using the front of the caribou's back leg on the boot's front and the back of its front leg on the boot's back; this avoided the skin that was worn thin by the animal's habit of kneeling to forage.

C. L. Mckay, 1882, Bristol Bay, Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution 056061

Aluqatkaq Beaver Castor



Beaver castor Timothy Myers recalled: "My grandmother used these beaver castors [scent glands] as medicine. The inner portion tasted like pitch from a tree, and they chewed them."

Gift of Ethel Ross Oliver, Anchorage Museum 1968.009.012






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