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The Iñupiaq People and Their Culture

By Beverly Faye Hugo, 2009

 Sea, Land, Rivers

There’s ice and snow, the ocean and darkness – darkness in the winter and twenty-four hours of daylight in the summer. Barrow was originally called Utqiaġvik (meaning, “the place where ukpik, the snowy owl, nests”). That’s where my people, the Iñupiat, have survived and lived, and I am doing as they have done. On the Arctic coast you can see vast distances in all directions, out over the ocean and across the land. The country is very flat, with thousands of ponds and lakes, stretching all the way to the Brooks Range in the south. It is often windy, and there are no natural windbreaks, no trees, only shrubs. Beautiful flowers grow during the brief summer season. The ocean is our garden, where we hunt the sea mammals that sustain us. Throughout the year some seasonal activity is going on. We are whaling in the spring and fall, when the bowheads migrate past Barrow, going out for seals and walrus, fishing, or hunting on the land for caribou, geese, and ducks.

Whaling crews are made up of family members and relatives, and everyone takes part. The spring is an exciting time when the whole community is focused on the whales, hoping to catch one. The number we are permitted to take each year is set by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the International Whaling Commission. Whaling is not for the faint of heart. It can be dangerous and takes an incredible amount of effort – getting ready, waiting for the whales, striking and pulling and towing them. But the men go out and do it because they want to feed the community. Everyone has to work hard throughout the whaling season. People who aren’t able to go out on the ice help in other ways, such as buying supplies and gas or preparing food. You have to make clothing for them; they need warm parkas, boots, and snow pants.

We believe that a whale gives itself to a captain and crew who are worthy people, who have integrity – that is the gift of the whale. Caring for whales, even after you’ve caught them, is important. After a whale is caught and divided up, everyone can glean meat from the bones. Each gets his share, even those who don’t belong to a crew. No one is left out.

We are really noticing the effects of global warming. The shorefast ice is much thinner in spring than it used to be, and in a strong wind it will sometimes break away. If you are out on the ice, you have to be extremely conscious of changes in the wind and current so that you will not be carried off on a broken floe. We are concerned as well about the effects of offshore drilling and seismic testing by the oil companies. They try to work with the community to avoid problems, but those activities could frighten the whales and be detrimental to hunting.

 

Community and Family

Iñupiaq residents of Barrow, Wales, Point Hope, Wainwright, and other coastal communities, are the Taġiuqmiut, “people of the salt.” People who live in the interior are the Nunamiut, “people of the land.” The Nunamiut used to be nomadic, moving from camp to camp with their dog teams, hunting and fishing to take care of their families. They packed light and lived in skin tents, tracking the caribou and mountain sheep. My husband, Patrick Hugo, was one of them. For the first six years of his life his family traveled like that, but when the government built a school at Anaktuvuk Pass in 1959 they settled there.

 My parents, Charlie and Mary Edwardson, were my foremost educators. They taught me my life skills and language. When I came to awareness as a young child, all the people who took care of me spoke Iñupiaq, so that was my first language. Our father would trap and hunt. We never went hungry and had the best furs for our parkas. Our mother was a fine seamstress, and we learned to sew by helping her. My mother and grandmother taught us to how to care for a family and to do things in a spirit of cooperation and harmony.

I was a child during the Bureau of Indian Affairs era, when we were punished for speaking Iñupiaq in school. My first day in class was the saddest one of my young life. I had to learn English, and that was important, but my own language is something that I value dearly and have always guarded. It is a gift from my parents and ancestors, and I want to pass it on to my children and grandchildren and anyone who wants to learn.

 

Ceremony and Celebration

Nalukataq (blanket toss) is a time of celebration when spring whaling has been successful. It is a kind of all-day picnic. People visit with friends and family at the windbreaks that the crews set up by tipping the whale boats onto their sides. At noon they serve niġliq (goose) soup, dinner rolls, and tea. At around 3:00 P.M. we have mikigaq,made of fermented whale meat, tongue, and skin. At 5:00 they serve frozen maktak (whale skin and blubber) and quaq (raw frozen fish). It’s wonderful to enjoy these foods, to talk, and catch up with everyone at the end of the busy whaling season.

Kivgik, the Messenger Feast, was held in the qargi (ceremonial house). The umialgich (whaling captains) in one community sent messengers to the leaders of another, inviting them and their families to come for days of feasting, dances, and gift giving. They exchanged great quantities of valuable things – piles of furs, sealskins filled with oil, weapons, boats, and sleds. That took place until the early years of the twentieth century, when Presbyterian missionaries suppressed our traditional ceremonies, and many of the communal qargich in the villages were closed down.

 In 1988, Mayor George Ahmaogak Sr. thought it was important to revitalize some of the traditions from before the Christian era, and Kivgik was started again. Today it is held in the high school gymnasium. People come to Barrow from many different communities to take part in the dancing and maġgalak, the exchange of gifts. You give presents to people who may have helped you or to those whom you want to honor.  Kivgiq brings us together as one people, just as it did in the time of our ancestors.

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

Sculpting Ivory videos

Walrus ivory is a precious sculptural material that for millennia has been carved into a nearly endless variety of forms essential to Arctic life, from harpoon heads to needle cases, handles, ornaments, buckles and many more. Naturalistic and stylized figures of animals and humans were made as charms, amulets and ancestral representations. Carvers today bring this conceptual heritage to new types of work.

 During a week-long residency organized by the Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum in 2015, Alaska Native carvers Jerome Saclamana (Iñupiaq), Clifford Apatiki (St. Lawrence Island Yupik) and Levi Tetpon (Iñupiaq) studied historic walrus ivory pieces from the Smithsonian’s Living Our Cultures exhibition and Anchorage Museum collection, and demonstrated how to process, design and shape walrus ivory into artwork. Art students, museum conservators, school groups, local artists and museum visitors participated throughout the week. Also, a two-day community workshop in Nome was taught by Jerome Saclamana and hosted by the Nome-Beltz High School. The video set presented here introduces the artists and document the materials, tools and techniques they use to make walrus-ivory artwork. An educational guide with six lessons is included below pair with the videos, along with links to a selection of Iñupiaq and St. Lawrence Island Yupik objects from the Smithsonian collections that were carved from walrus ivory.

 Tags: Iñupiaq, Inupiaq, Eskimo, ivory, walrus, carving, carver, carve, Native art, museum, education, St. Lawrence Island Yupik

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
28
 

Iñupiaq Language and Culture videos

The Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center hosted a language and culture seminar at the Anchorage Museum in 2011, bringing together eight fluent Iñupiaq speakers for four days to discuss cultural heritage objects from their region in the Smithsonian exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska at the Anchorage Museum. This video set presents a range of information about life in northwest Alaska for the Iñupiaq people: hunting tools used for living from the land and sea to ceremonial items used at celebrations and gatherings to everyday clothing to cultural traditions and values. The videos are in Iñupiaq with subtitles in English and Iñupiaq, for following along in both languages. An educational guide with six lessons is included below, along with links to objects discussed from the Smithsonian collections.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, language, Indigenous, Iñupiaq, Inupiaq

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
18
 

Iñupiaq Lessons: Language and Culture

The Alaska Office of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center hosted an Iñupiaq language and culture seminar in January 2011, bringing together eight fluent speakers: Sylvester Ayek, Bernadette Alvanna-Stimpfle, Alvira Downey, Herbert Foster Sr., Willie Goodwin Jr., Jana Harcharek, Faye Ongtowasruk and Rachel Riley. They met for four days to discuss Iñupiaq cultural heritage objects in the Smithsonian exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska at the Anchorage Museum.

During the seminar, the Iñupiaq language was documented, including three different dialects, and language and culture teaching materials were written for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. Six objects from the Smithsonian collections – with links below – are featured in the guide and lessons presented here. These resources pair with six video lessons that offer teachers, students, parents and lifelong learners access to Iñupiaq language and lifeways.

Tags: Alaska, Native art, museum, education, language, Indigenous, Iñupiaq, Inupiaq

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
14
 

Re-Imagining Migration DC Seminar Series, 2019-2020: Session 1

What does it take to prepare our youth for a world on the move with quality?

This collection is the first in a series of four created to support the Re-Imagining Migration DC Seminar Series, held between December 2019 to March 2020. The seminar series is led by Verónica Boix Mansilla, Senior Principal Investigator for Harvard Graduate School of Education's Project Zero, and Research Director for Re-Imagining Migration, with in-gallery experiences provided by educators from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of American History, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, and the National Gallery of Art.

This set of collections is designed to be dynamic. We sill continue to add material, including participant-created content, throughout the seminar series so that the collections themselves can be used as a type of textbook, reflecting the content, development, and outputs of the full seminar series. Please check back to the hashtag #ReImaginingMigration to see what we anticipate will be a growing body of materials to support educators as they strive to serve and teach about human migration in relevant and deep ways.

#ReImaginingMigration

Philippa Rappoport
23
 

People, Place, and Time: How Art Reflects Culture - Collection 1 - Night of the Dead by Alan Crane

In this collection, designed for a Spanish-speaking classroom, students will explore how art reflects culture when analyzing “Night of the Dead,” a lithograph by Alan Crane in the National Museum of American History. The collection includes a teacher's guide in English and suggested authentic resources both in Spanish and English to be adapted by teachers of multiple disciplines. 

Students will investigate how the Day of the Dead is celebrated by Latin Americans and compare it to their own celebrations. Next, students  will create an interactive presentation using Flipgrid and write a monologue to reflect their learning from the point of view of one of the persons in the artwork. 

This collection is one of three that explore “People, Place, and Time: How Art Reflects Culture.” Products, practices and perspectives displayed in Latinx art, show how our place and history (past) influence who we are (present) and who we want to be (future) in geographical, social, economic, and/or historical contexts. In the three collections, Latin American works of art illustrate how culture shapes the way we see the world, others, and ourselves, and they also raise awareness about Latinx diversity.

The three collections were created by Marcela Velikovsky (Bullis School) and Vicky Masson (Christ Episcopal School) as part of the  2018 Smithsonian Virtual Teacher Curricula Creation Opportunity with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA), and thanks to the Smithsonian Latino Center's Latino Initiative Pool funds. The three collections highlight Latino history, art, and culture, and use Harvard Project Zero Thinking Routines and Global Thinking Routines strategies.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab collections provide an opportunity to invigorate the World Language (Foreign Language) curriculum as it allows to effectively integrate online museum resources (authentic resources) towards a 21st century curriculum. They facilitate student-centered activities within a variety of themes such as, family and communities, personal and public identities, social values and customs, holidays and celebrations, immigration, ethnic groups, Hispanic Heritage,  image and stereotypes, inequality and discrimination, global issues, religious practices, etc. They also provide the opportunity to analyze art, read portraiture, and investigate art media.

These collections also consider ACTFL standards (Communication, Connections, Comparisons, Communities and Culture), Asia Society Global Competence skills, the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals), Teaching Tolerance Social Justice standards, the Framework for Developing Global and Cultural Competencies to Advance Equity, Excellence and Economic competitiveness, and Participate Global Competencies.

#National Portrait Gallery #Spanish #Global awareness #Empathy #Global connections #Global-mindedness #Curiosity #Cross-cultural skills #Day of the Dead #Worldview #LatinoHAC


Marcela Velikovsky
48
 

Cultural Communications: Making the Melting Pot a Reality

DRAFT  Language is the very first tool that we use to understand the ideas that we are trying to share. But what about the monuments, art, and songs that we have created to share our ideas with one another? This exploration will focus on how American culture founded on the mixing of ethnicities and experiences used the skills and talents of its members to reveal its faults and celebrate its wonder and imagination. This collection will explore the sights and sounds of those who were here before all others, the 1st Nation Peoples, and travel from that past to the lives of their descendants and the all who followed by coming to the shores of this country. This exploration will give students a way to examine the history of those around them, but also their place within this most extravagant quilt of this country.

  • The purpose of this activity is to give students a better understanding of the American Indian identity of the United States as foundational to understanding this land. From that foundation they will journey through the musical/dance expressions of the people who came to inhabit the US and through them the historical/contemporary realities and perspectives that make up our society.


Please follow the lesson plan laid out at the beginning of the collection to see the best way to use it. #goglobal

Sean Felix
48
 

Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields/Revolución en los Campos

Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields/Revolución en los Campos shares the compelling story of legendary activist and leader Dolores Huerta (b. 1930) and the farm workers movement of the 1960s and 70s. It is a quintessentially American tale of struggle and sacrifice, of courage and victory.

As a complement to the exhibition, these educational resources explore Huerta's public life as an activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers  (UFW) and what led her to become a Latina civil rights icon. In her life as a communicator, organizer, lobbyist, contract negotiator, teacher and mother,  Huerta's unparalleled leadership skills helped dramatically improve the lives of farm workers.

Users will broaden their understanding of the farm workers movement through a careful look at Dolores Huerta's significant - but often under-acknowledged - contributions. The exhibition and educational resources also explore how workers of different ethnic and racial backgrounds came together to empower the movement and how the arts played an essential role. In addition, users will come to understand Huerta's far-reaching impact and important legacy.

The resources in this collection include a bilingual community engagement resource to promote dialogue on issues that relate to social justice, activism, leadership, etc. A few activities that can be used in the classroom or when you visit the exhibition at your local museum.  In addition, you can learn more by listening to Dolores Huerta by downloading the free downloadable App "Dolores Huerta" on Google and Apple.  Please remember that the App takes a few minutes to download.


#NHD #NHD2020  #BecauseOfHerStory


Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
43
 

National Art Education Association Webinar: "Constructing Curriculum with the Smithsonian"

This collection was created to complement a National Art Education Association (NAEA) webinar, "Constructing Curriculum with the Smithsonian"  (December 11, 2019) featuring resources from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Learning Lab. 

The webinar features inquiry-based strategies in examining the American experience depicted through portraiture and unpacking the context of historical narratives communicated through art with students. 

This collection was created in collaboration with Briana Zavadil White (National Portrait Gallery) and Candra Flanagan (National Museum of African American History and Culture).

Ashley Naranjo
16
 

National Art Education Association Webinar:

This collection was created to complement a National Art Education Association (NAEA) webinar, "Constructing Curriculum with the Smithsonian"  (December 11, 2019) featuring resources from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Learning Lab. 

The webinar features inquiry-based strategies in examining the American experience depicted through portraiture and unpacking the context of historical narratives communicated through art with students. 

This collection was created in collaboration with Briana Zavadil White (National Portrait Gallery) and Candra Flanagan (National Museum of African American History and Culture).

Carol Mack
15
 

China's Terracotta Army: Exploring Artistic Practices

In this activity, students will analyze figures from the Terracotta Army, made for China's First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259 – 210 BCE), in order to explore the artistic practices of a newly unified China during the Qin dynasty (221 – 206 BCE). Students will explore the elements of art and principles of design used in the terracotta warrior figures before designing their own papercraft terracotta warrior.

The Terracotta Army, a group of approximately 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses, was created for Emperor Qin Shihuang to form a small part of his elaborate tomb complex. These figures are significant not only because of their artistic realism, detail, and diversity, but also because of their rarity – the majority of surviving objects from this time period have been found in Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb complex.

Authors of this collection are the Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Tags: archaeology; archaeologist; ancient history; artifact; afterlife; funerary practices; burial; death; spiritual beliefs; military; soldier; sculpture; chinese; world; asia; asian; xi'an; empire; see wonder connect; project zero; visible thinking routine; strategy; maker; art making; papercraft; terra cotta; shihuangdi; shi huangdi; shi huang di; earthenware; ceramics

#visiblethinking

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army
20
 

The Wednesday Wars and the American Ideal

Resources to accompany a unit on the YA novel The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt.

Tip Walker
15
 

Protest Then and Now

This collection includes images of different types of protests from the women's suffrage movement to contemporary issues. #ethnicstudies

Melanie Kirchhof
4
 

Art & Resistance: Frederick Douglass

Why art & resistance in a novel study of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

  • This lesson may be used as a pre-reading activity for a study of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.  My two year literature course begins junior year with the reading and interrogation of Douglass' Narrative.  
  • Students often have a limited view of the author, the historical context of 19th century America and especially the resistance against oppression and struggle for agency of racialized groups (like the kidnapped Africans who were stolen from their homes, trafficked and enslaved).  
  • This collection is designed to help students construct meaning around one of Douglass' many means of resistance to oppression by the careful curation of his image.

Why resistance?  

  • My rationale for centering our literature study on the concept of resistance was born from conversations with students last year that revealed their false beliefs that enslaved people (specifically the kidnapped and enslaved Africans trafficked and sold into the American Slave Trade) did not by and large resist.  There was large scale ignorance across all my classes of the scale of acts of resistance as well. 
  •  Additionally,I thought since my students are developmentally at a stage of differentiating themselves from their parents/ families (often looking like resistance to norms) that they would find relevance and resonance with a unit centered on resistance.

#goglobal #andersonpetty

Sher Anderson Petty
66
 

Exploring Social Justice with “One Life: Marian Anderson” and “In Mid-Sentence.”

This learning lab is rooted in exploring the concept of social justice and activism through biography and curation. This learning lab explores the power of one's narrative being shown through multiple artifacts in order to paint a bigger and more accurate picture of their role in social justice and activism. 

#NPG

Asia Stanislaus
36
 

Curation...The Latest (and Equally Important!) C for Education

This collection is a curated collection of images that can be used with a lesson plan on curation. Each of the images has some possible connection to a social justice theme and the question asked by the creator of the collection is, "How might we approach conversations about curation and social justice?" Each of these images adds a unique and interesting dimension to a conversation about curation, the people whose stories are selected for view, and how those stories are empowered and/or disempowered by the stories that they are surrounded by. How do we make decisions about these topics? What do we do when we are asked to include in a curated collection pieces that change the story we might want to tell? How do we deal with the multi-faceted stories and sometimes contradictory stories of the people we select for our collections? 

It is important to ask these questions and have dialogues with students about how we come to our conclusions, make our decisions, and wrestle with these concepts. In a world of tweets and ever expanding stories/information it is important sometimes to talk about how we work with the realities of physical spaces where there isn't always enough wall real estate to highlight everyone all of the time. In those situations, how decisions are made, who is brought to the forefront (and who is not), and how our own beliefs/biases/views of the world play into those decisions all matter. 

How might you curate this collection in many ways? Who is still missing and why does it matter that we ask the questions at all? 

While this is intended to be a companion collection to a lesson on curation, the questions above may stand on their own. This collection is intended to be the beginning of a conversation, and not a stand alone collection; however, the lesson is also available in the collection as a downloadable PDF. 

#NPGTeach

Sean Wybrant
40
 

1619 to the American Civil Rights Movement

This collection brings together the New York Times Podcast 1619 (Episode 1, "The Fight for a True Democracy") and Smithsonian resources to support my 7th graders as we begin our unit on the American Civil Rights Movement. Later in the unit, the students will read March, a graphic novel based on the experience of Congressman John Lewis during the Civil Rights Movement. In order for the students to understand why the Civil Rights Movement was necessary, they must first understand the history that led to it. This collection does not, by any means, provide a complete or comprehensive history. The podcast provides an historical overview and will serve as a jumping off point for further research. The visual artwork, poetry, articles, and films included at the end serve to provide additional perspectives and opportunities for exploration. The students will develop their own research questions inspired by the thinking they've done throughout this collection and may use the additional resources provided to begin their independent research. A PowerPoint lesson on developing research questions is included.

The collection is organized into five lessons, each following the same structure: Students will listen to a portion of the podcast and use Think, Puzzle, Explore to document their thinking and record questions for further research. They will also explore a piece of visual art using Ten Times Two and Unveiling Stories. The sixth lesson brings the students from history to the present and asks them to consider the 2014 artwork New Age of Slavery by Patrick Campbell using Ten Times Two and Unveiling Stories. 

#goglobal

Marissa McCauley
99
 

American Indian Movement and the Traditional Way of Life

These resources provide examples of the role of traditions in the American Indian Movement and how American Indians have attempted to keep their traditional way of life viable. #ethnicstudies

Kip Harmon
8
 

Patapsco Women's Suffrage

maryland, baltimore, Patapsco area #PHGWomen

Debbie Farthing
38
 

Manifesto

If you could say one thing to the world, what would it be? People have used manifestos throughout history to declare intent, action, and to persuade people to their point of view. This unit uses the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's "Manifesto: Art x Agency" exhibition to explore the ideas behind manifestos from famous art movements in art history in order to inspire students to create their own manifesto. Students will also explore other manifestos throughout history, literature, and present day. They will also analyze and critique manifestos to determine whose voices and choices are valued and represented.

#goglobal

Ashley Beck
45
 

Read Between the Brushstrokes: Using Visual Art as a Historical Source

This Learning Lab from the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will explore the connection between visual art and history. 

When studying history, it is important to remember that all historical sources do not look the same. Visual art, being an active response to a stimulus, serves as a mirror to the contemporary landscape. Art engages in a conversation with history while acting as a visual expression of contemporary thoughts and ideas.

Through the visual art piece "New Age of Slavery" by Patrick Campbell (2014), students will learn more about the events and cultural context of the contemporary landscape including the pattern of police brutality against African Americans and the Black Lives Matter Movement while honing their visual literacy competency. The questions, prompts, and information provided in this Learning Lab will help students hone their skills in visual literacy competency. Students can use this Learning Lab collection to help sharpen their historical thinking skills and expand their conceptions of historical sources.

The guiding questions of this Learning Lab are

  • What is visual art’s connection to historical events? Why is it important that we recognize these connections?
  • How do contemporary events shape artists’ responses in their art making?
  • What does studying art add to our understanding of historical events and time periods?

The goals of this Learning Lab are

  • Bridge the gap in understanding between art analysis and historical analysis
  • Explore the inherent ties between art pieces and their surrounding historical context
  • Introduce the foundations of formal art analysis and develop close looking skills for visual art pieces

If you are new to Learning Lab, visit https://learninglab.si.edu/help/getting-started to learn how to get started!

Keywords: NMAAHC, African American, slavery, flag, American, 13th Amendment, visual art, Black Lives Matter, lynching, United States, visual literacy

National Museum of African American History and Culture
12
 

Postcard Places

Jean-Marie Galing
23
 

Becoming a Historian: Historical Context

Historical thinking skills allow historians to better practice and interpret history. This series teaches students how to develop these skills to become better historians themselves.

This Learning Lab will guide students through the process of defining historical context and practicing employing strategies from an example dealing with the 1968 Poor People's Campaign. 

 Historical context is the background information that informs a deeper understanding of a historical individual, group or event. Historical context is important because it allows historians to better understand history in the ways a historical individual or group understood the world around them, which leads historians to analyze the past more accurately. 

 Keywords: nmaahc, African, American, historical, thinking, skills, context, historical, contextualization, background, 1968, Poor People's Campaign, history, interpret, analyze

National Museum of African American History and Culture
16
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