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Aleutian Islands Bentwood Hats (1 of 9): Introduction

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Unangax men of the Aleutian Islands wore hunting hats and visors that were shaped from carved, boiled and bent planks of driftwood, intricately ornamented with painted lines and spirals, glass beads, walrus ivory figures and sea lion whiskers. These magnificent hats were practical headgear for kayak hunters and at the same time works of art that vividly expressed the spiritual connection between people and the creatures of the sea. Two contemporary Unangax hat makers – Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory and Michael Livingston – spent a week in 2012 as artists-in-residence at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage, working with advanced apprentices Delores Gregory and Tim Shangin. They examined bentwood hats and visors in the Living Our Cultures exhibition and Anchorage Museum collection, and they demonstrated carving, bending, and decorative techniques to visiting students and the museum public. The videos presented here, filmed during the residency, provide step-by-step instructions on how to make a bentwood hat and information on the use and significance of these hats in the past and today to the peoples of the Aleutian Islands. There are also in-depth interviews with the artists and apprentices, providing first-hand information about the Aleutian Islands region and this important art form. To learn more about Unangax culture, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu where you will find information about all Alaska Native cultures and educational materials in the Resources section.

Sculpting Ivory (10 of 17): Cutting Ivory

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 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 educational videos presented here introduce the artists and document the materials, tools and techniques they use to make ivory artwork. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Twining Cedar (13 of 15): Weaving Designs - Overlay

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Red cedar bark twined basketry is a distinctive Tsimshian art form. With the passing on of elder master artists and the demands of contemporary lifestyles, it became at risk. A handful of weavers today are working to master and revitalize twined cedarbark basketry, reconnecting with a proud heritage. In 2016, the Arctic Studies Center collaborated with The Haayk Foundation of Metlakatla to document the materials and techniques of cedarbark basketry. The project included a harvesting and processing workshop and a weaving workshop in Metlakatla, and a residency at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage where artists studied baskets from museum and private collections, practiced and refined weaving techniques, and taught museum visitors and school children about basketry. Teaching was led by Haida master weaver Delores Churchill, who learned from master Tsimshian weaver Flora Mather, with assistance from her daughter Holly Churchill, an accomplished weaver. In addition to Metlakatla students, three advanced Tsimshian weavers participated in the project, sharing techniques learned in their families and communities and learning new ones: Kandi McGilton (co-founder of The Haayk Foundation), Karla Booth (granddaughter of Tsimshian master weaver Violet Booth) and Annette Topham (niece of master Tsimshian weaver Lillian Buchert). Metlakatla elder Sarah Booth, a fluent speaker of Sm’algyax (Ts’msyen), assisted Kandi McGilton in documenting indigenous basketry terminology for use in language classes. The videos presented here, with footage from the workshops and residency, provide instruction on how to harvest and process materials and on how to weave a basket from start to finish. To learn more about Tsimshian culture, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you will find information about all Alaska Native cultures and educational materials in the Resources section.

Listen & Learn SLI Yupik (4 of 12): Avleqaghtat (Bolas)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Arctic Studies Center hosted a St. Lawrence Island Yupik language and culture seminar at the Anchorage Museum in January 2012, bringing together seven fluent speakers for five days to discuss Yupik objects in the Living Our Cultures exhibition. The goals were to contribute to documentation of the Yupik language and to create language and culture teaching materials for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. For a free educational guide with six lessons, including answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Listen & Learn Iñupiaq (6 of 6): Uluaqpak, Uluqpak (Large ulu)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 Living Our Cultures exhibition. These videos present 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. For a free educational guide with six lessons, including answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Twining Cedar (12 of 15): Designs (Patterns)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Red cedar bark twined basketry is a distinctive Tsimshian art form. With the passing on of elder master artists and the demands of contemporary lifestyles, it became at risk. A handful of weavers today are working to master and revitalize twined cedarbark basketry, reconnecting with a proud heritage. In 2016, the Arctic Studies Center collaborated with The Haayk Foundation of Metlakatla to document the materials and techniques of cedarbark basketry. The project included a harvesting and processing workshop and a weaving workshop in Metlakatla, and a residency at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage where artists studied baskets from museum and private collections, practiced and refined weaving techniques, and taught museum visitors and school children about basketry. Teaching was led by Haida master weaver Delores Churchill, who learned from master Tsimshian weaver Flora Mather, with assistance from her daughter Holly Churchill, an accomplished weaver. In addition to Metlakatla students, three advanced Tsimshian weavers participated in the project, sharing techniques learned in their families and communities and learning new ones: Kandi McGilton (co-founder of The Haayk Foundation), Karla Booth (granddaughter of Tsimshian master weaver Violet Booth) and Annette Topham (niece of master Tsimshian weaver Lillian Buchert). Metlakatla elder Sarah Booth, a fluent speaker of Sm’algyax (Ts’msyen), assisted Kandi McGilton in documenting indigenous basketry terminology for use in language classes. The videos presented here, with footage from the workshops and residency, provide instruction on how to harvest and process materials and on how to weave a basket from start to finish. To learn more about Tsimshian culture, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you will find information about all Alaska Native cultures and educational materials in the Resources section.

Sculpting Ivory (14 of 17): Shaping Ivory with Power Tools

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 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 educational videos presented here introduce the artists and document the materials, tools and techniques they use to make ivory artwork. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Sculpting Ivory (16 of 17): Adding Details

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 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 educational videos presented here introduce the artists and document the materials, tools and techniques they use to make ivory artwork. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Listen & Learn SLI Yupik (3 of 12): Qanrak (Boat Sled)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Arctic Studies Center hosted a St. Lawrence Island Yupik language and culture seminar at the Anchorage Museum in January 2012, bringing together seven fluent speakers for five days to discuss Yupik objects in the Living Our Cultures exhibition. The goals were to contribute to documentation of the Yupik language and to create language and culture teaching materials for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. For a free educational guide with six lessons, including answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Twining Cedar (8 of 15): Weaving a Plaited Bottom

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Red cedar bark twined basketry is a distinctive Tsimshian art form. With the passing on of elder master artists and the demands of contemporary lifestyles, it became at risk. A handful of weavers today are working to master and revitalize twined cedarbark basketry, reconnecting with a proud heritage. In 2016, the Arctic Studies Center collaborated with The Haayk Foundation of Metlakatla to document the materials and techniques of cedarbark basketry. The project included a harvesting and processing workshop and a weaving workshop in Metlakatla, and a residency at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage where artists studied baskets from museum and private collections, practiced and refined weaving techniques, and taught museum visitors and school children about basketry. Teaching was led by Haida master weaver Delores Churchill, who learned from master Tsimshian weaver Flora Mather, with assistance from her daughter Holly Churchill, an accomplished weaver. In addition to Metlakatla students, three advanced Tsimshian weavers participated in the project, sharing techniques learned in their families and communities and learning new ones: Kandi McGilton (co-founder of The Haayk Foundation), Karla Booth (granddaughter of Tsimshian master weaver Violet Booth) and Annette Topham (niece of master Tsimshian weaver Lillian Buchert). Metlakatla elder Sarah Booth, a fluent speaker of Sm’algyax (Ts’msyen), assisted Kandi McGilton in documenting indigenous basketry terminology for use in language classes. The videos presented here, with footage from the workshops and residency, provide instruction on how to harvest and process materials and on how to weave a basket from start to finish. To learn more about Tsimshian culture, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you will find information about all Alaska Native cultures and educational materials in the Resources section.

Twining Cedar (10 of 15): Weaving the Bottom Edge

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Red cedar bark twined basketry is a distinctive Tsimshian art form. With the passing on of elder master artists and the demands of contemporary lifestyles, it became at risk. A handful of weavers today are working to master and revitalize twined cedarbark basketry, reconnecting with a proud heritage. In 2016, the Arctic Studies Center collaborated with The Haayk Foundation of Metlakatla to document the materials and techniques of cedarbark basketry. The project included a harvesting and processing workshop and a weaving workshop in Metlakatla, and a residency at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage where artists studied baskets from museum and private collections, practiced and refined weaving techniques, and taught museum visitors and school children about basketry. Teaching was led by Haida master weaver Delores Churchill, who learned from master Tsimshian weaver Flora Mather, with assistance from her daughter Holly Churchill, an accomplished weaver. In addition to Metlakatla students, three advanced Tsimshian weavers participated in the project, sharing techniques learned in their families and communities and learning new ones: Kandi McGilton (co-founder of The Haayk Foundation), Karla Booth (granddaughter of Tsimshian master weaver Violet Booth) and Annette Topham (niece of master Tsimshian weaver Lillian Buchert). Metlakatla elder Sarah Booth, a fluent speaker of Sm’algyax (Ts’msyen), assisted Kandi McGilton in documenting indigenous basketry terminology for use in language classes. The videos presented here, with footage from the workshops and residency, provide instruction on how to harvest and process materials and on how to weave a basket from start to finish. To learn more about Tsimshian culture, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you will find information about all Alaska Native cultures and educational materials in the Resources section.

Athabascan Moosehide Tanning & Sewing (5 of 23): An Interview with Joel Isaak

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Older generations of Alaska Athabascan (Dene) peoples tanned moose hides using time-tested methods to make strong, supple leather for sewing beaded or quill-embroidered tunics, jackets, mittens, bags and moccasins, as well as everyday essentials such as dogsled harnesses. Because traditional tanning is time-consuming and requires technical knowledge that has declined in recent generations, most moose hides are now sent out to commercial tanneries for processing with synthetic chemicals. Commercial tanning produces a lower quality hide, but more importantly, it displaces the passing on of Athabascan tanning knowledge. Recognizing this, contemporary artists Joel Isaak (Dena'ina Athabascan) and Melissa Shaginoff (Ahtna Athabascan) have been learning traditional methods for tanning moose hides from elders Helen Dick (Dena’ina Athabascan) and Jeanie Maxim (Ahtna Athabascan) and adding tested, contemporary tools. The Alaska office of the Arctic Studies Center worked with these committed artists and elders from September 2017 through June 2018 to carry out moosehide tanning work in communities and backyards in Kenai, Chickaloon, and Anchorage, and a sewing and beading residency at the Anchorage Museum. The collaboration resulted in the set of twenty-three educational videos presented here. A limited number of free DVDs are available upon request to Biddisond@si.edu or Crowella@si.edu. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge: Alaska Native Collections at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Listen & Learn SLI Yupik (2 of 12): Aghveghqutaq (harpoon head)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Arctic Studies Center hosted a St. Lawrence Island Yupik language and culture seminar at the Anchorage Museum in January 2012, bringing together seven fluent speakers for five days to discuss Yupik objects in the Living Our Cultures exhibition. The goals were to contribute to documentation of the Yupik language and to create language and culture teaching materials for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. For a free educational guide with six lessons, including answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Sculpting Ivory (12 of 17): Designing a Figure

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 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 educational videos presented here introduce the artists and document the materials, tools and techniques they use to make ivory artwork. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Listen & Learn SLI Yupik (8 of 12): Kaamget (Boots)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Arctic Studies Center hosted a St. Lawrence Island Yupik language and culture seminar at the Anchorage Museum in January 2012, bringing together seven fluent speakers for five days to discuss Yupik objects in the Living Our Cultures exhibition. The goals were to contribute to documentation of the Yupik language and to create language and culture teaching materials for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. For a free educational guide with six lessons, including answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Aleutian Islands Bentwood Hats (5 of 9): Timothy Shangin

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Unangax men of the Aleutian Islands wore hunting hats and visors that were shaped from carved, boiled and bent planks of driftwood, intricately ornamented with painted lines and spirals, glass beads, walrus ivory figures and sea lion whiskers. These magnificent hats were practical headgear for kayak hunters and at the same time works of art that vividly expressed the spiritual connection between people and the creatures of the sea. Two contemporary Unangax hat makers – Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory and Michael Livingston – spent a week in 2012 as artists-in-residence at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage, working with advanced apprentices Delores Gregory and Tim Shangin. They examined bentwood hats and visors in the Living Our Cultures exhibition and Anchorage Museum collection, and they demonstrated carving, bending, and decorative techniques to visiting students and the museum public. The videos presented here, filmed during the residency, provide step-by-step instructions on how to make a bentwood hat and information on the use and significance of these hats in the past and today to the peoples of the Aleutian Islands. There are also in-depth interviews with the artists and apprentices, providing first-hand information about the Aleutian Islands region and this important art form. To learn more about Unangax culture, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu where you will find information about all Alaska Native cultures and educational materials in the Resources section.

Sewing Salmon 1 (of 10): Introduction

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Sewing Salmon project – hosted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska – brought together three contemporary Alaska Native artists to learn and teach about creating work from fish skin through studying historic fishskin objects and through sharing and comparing techniques they developed. Each artist has a commitment to this almost-lost art and shared their knowledge with students and visitors, and with curators and conservators who care for museum collections. For free curriculum on salmon in Alaska, including lessons with answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Sculpting Ivory (17 of 17): Whale's Tail Project

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 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 educational videos presented here introduce the artists and document the materials, tools and techniques they use to make ivory artwork. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Listen & Learn Iñupiaq (2 of 6): Aqsraatchiaq (High-kick ball)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 Living Our Cultures exhibition. These videos present 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. For a free educational guide with six lessons, including answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Sculpting Ivory (9 of 17): Materials - Ocher

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 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 educational videos presented here introduce the artists and document the materials, tools and techniques they use to make ivory artwork. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Sewing Gut (2 of 13): Meet Artist Mary Tunuchuk

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The art of sewing sea mammal intestine – also called gut – is an ancient and practical one used to create waterproof clothing and bags, as well as ceremonial attire. During a week-long residency organized by the Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum in 2014, Alaska Native artists Mary Tunuchuk (Yup’ik), Elaine Kingeekuk (St. Lawrence Island Yupik) and Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Iñupiaq-Athabascan) studied the design and construction of historic gutskin objects and demonstrated how to process and sew gut to students, museum conservators and visitors. A two-day community workshop in Bethel followed, taught by Mary Tunuchuk and hosted by the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center with assistance from Director Eva Malvich. The educational videos presented here introduce the artists, examine historic objects made with gut from the Smithsonian collections, and offer detailed explanations and demonstrations. Learn how to process and sew sea mammal intestine (and hog gut as an alternative material for non-Alaska Natives); prepare grass and tapered thread for sewing; and complete a gut basket or gut window project. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Athabascan Moosehide Tanning & Sewing (10 of 23): Scraping Clean – an Ahtna Method

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Older generations of Alaska Athabascan (Dene) peoples tanned moose hides using time-tested methods to make strong, supple leather for sewing beaded or quill-embroidered tunics, jackets, mittens, bags and moccasins, as well as everyday essentials such as dogsled harnesses. Because traditional tanning is time-consuming and requires technical knowledge that has declined in recent generations, most moose hides are now sent out to commercial tanneries for processing with synthetic chemicals. Commercial tanning produces a lower quality hide, but more importantly, it displaces the passing on of Athabascan tanning knowledge. Recognizing this, contemporary artists Joel Isaak (Dena'ina Athabascan) and Melissa Shaginoff (Ahtna Athabascan) have been learning traditional methods for tanning moose hides from elders Helen Dick (Dena’ina Athabascan) and Jeanie Maxim (Ahtna Athabascan) and adding tested, contemporary tools. The Alaska office of the Arctic Studies Center worked with these committed artists and elders from September 2017 through June 2018 to carry out moosehide tanning work in communities and backyards in Kenai, Chickaloon, and Anchorage, and a sewing and beading residency at the Anchorage Museum. The collaboration resulted in the set of twenty-three educational videos presented here. A limited number of free DVDs are available upon request to Biddisond@si.edu or Crowella@si.edu. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the exhibition website Sharing Knowledge: Alaska Native Collections at /http://alaska.si.edu, where you can also find educational materials in the Resources section.

Listen & Learn Iñupiaq (4 of 6): Piñiġauraak, Piñiġaurak, Ivġusiuraak (Child's waterproof boots)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
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 Living Our Cultures exhibition. These videos present 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. For a free educational guide with six lessons, including answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Listen & Learn SLI Yupik (10 of 12): Qaghpa (Headdress)

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Arctic Studies Center hosted a St. Lawrence Island Yupik language and culture seminar at the Anchorage Museum in January 2012, bringing together seven fluent speakers for five days to discuss Yupik objects in the Living Our Cultures exhibition. The goals were to contribute to documentation of the Yupik language and to create language and culture teaching materials for use in schools and homes throughout Alaska and beyond. For a free educational guide with six lessons, including answers for teachers, see the about section to contact us. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.
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