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Yup'ik Parka: Object Analysis

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Cultures +3 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This introductory student activity explores the Yup'ik gut parka, a type of garment created from the intestines of sea mammals to protect sea hunters from wind, rain, and stormy seas. The Yup'ik, native to Alaska and coastal Canada, used these not only for hunting but also spiritual occasions, such as religious ceremonies. Collection includes: two parkas, one for hunting and one for ceremonies; a map of the geographic boundaries of the Yup'ik before the arrival of Euro-American settlers; and a video of modern Yup'ik discussing the traditional process of creating these garments and the importance of conserving and continuing this tradition today.

Collection can be used as an introductory activity to an investigation of: Yup'ik culture, Yup'ik relationships to their environment, Arctic cultures, Native American innovations, or the importance of continuing traditions.

Keywords: eskimo, native american, american indian, sea mammals, gutskin, conservation, yupik

Mystery Object

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Gut Parka Informational Video

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Gutskin Parka

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.