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Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
In 1994, the Anchorage Museum became the Alaska home of the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center. Its exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska presents Indigenous voices, perspectives and knowledge through over 600 masterworks of Alaska Native art and design from the National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian collections. Living Our Cultures serves as both a public exhibition and as an active resource for collaborative, community-based research and education. These programs have included artist residencies and language seminars with Alaska Native elders, culture-bearers and artists. The videos on this channel, filmed and edited from these programs, provide instructional and educational information about Alaska Native languages, arts and lifeways. Free DVD copies and teacher's guides with lessons and worksheets are available: please contact Dawn Biddison at biddisond@si.edu. Video music: Dance songs by Joe Sikvayunak; Barrow, 1954; courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways

Jerome Saclamana: Iñupiaq artist

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
Meet Alaska Native artist Jerome Saclamana, an Iñupiaq carver from Nome

Sewing Gut (5 of 13): Studying Historic Museum Pieces

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.

Sculpting Ivory (6 of 17): Studying a Historic Bowl

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 Salmon 7 (of 10): Answers from the Artists

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.

Sewing Salmon 9 (of 10): Meet Coral Chernoff

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.

Sewing Salmon 10 (of 10): Meet Marlene Nielsen

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.

Sewing Salmon 6 (of 10): Learning from Native Artists

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.

Sewing Salmon 8 (of 10): Meet Audrey Armstrong

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.

Sewing Salmon 5 (of 10): Stitching Salmon Skin

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.

Sewing Salmon 4 (of 10): Marlene Nielsen's Method

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.

Sewing Salmon 3 (of 10): Coral Chernoff's Method

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.

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.

Sewing Salmon 2 (of 10): Audrey Armstrong's Method

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.

Sharing the Dena'ina Language (2 of 3): Fire Bag

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Alaska Office of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center hosted the Dena’ina Language Institute in 2010 at the Living Our Cultures exhibit gallery located in the Anchorage Museum. Elders Helen Dick and Gladys Evanoff shared their knowledge about Dena'ina heritage objects in the Smithsonian collections, using the objects as tools to teach the Dena'ina Athabascan language. They worked with language learners, linguists and museum staff to script and record new language learning videos, including the three videos presented here. To learn more about the Dena'ina language go to the Dena'ina Qenaga website at http://qenaga.org/. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Sharing the Dena'ina Language (3 of 3): Snowshoes

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Alaska Office of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center hosted the Dena’ina Language Institute in 2010 at the Living Our Cultures exhibit gallery located in the Anchorage Museum. Elders Helen Dick and Gladys Evanoff shared their knowledge about Dena'ina heritage objects in the Smithsonian collections, using the objects as tools to teach the Dena'ina Athabascan language. They worked with language learners, linguists and museum staff to script and record new language learning videos, including the three videos presented here. To learn more about the Dena'ina language go to the Dena'ina Qenaga website at http://qenaga.org/. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Sharing the Dena'ina Language (1 of 3): Dog Pack

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska
The Alaska Office of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center hosted the Dena’ina Language Institute in 2010 at the Living Our Cultures exhibit gallery located in the Anchorage Museum. Elders Helen Dick and Gladys Evanoff shared their knowledge about Dena'ina heritage objects in the Smithsonian collections, using the objects as tools to teach the Dena'ina Athabascan language. They worked with language learners, linguists and museum staff to script and record new language learning videos, including the three videos presented here. To learn more about the Dena'ina language go to the Dena'ina Qenaga website at http://qenaga.org/. To learn more about Alaska Native cultures, please visit the website Sharing Knowledge at http://alaska.si.edu.

Listen & Learn SLI Yupik (12 of 12): Saguyak (Drum)

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 SLI Yupik (11 of 12): Aaraaghusik Iiggak (Fancy Gloves)

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 SLI Yupik (5 of 12): Anavak (Bird Net)

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 SLI Yupik (9 of 12): Sanightaaq (Fancy Gut Parka)

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 SLI Yupik (1 of 12): Uunghaq (Harpoon)

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 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 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.
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