Monday, December 1, 2008

Inupiaq Values


Every Inupiaq is responsible to
all other Inupiat for the survival
of our cultural spirit, and the
values and traditions through
which it survives. Through our
extended family, we retain,
teach and live our Inupiaq way.
  • With guidance and
    support for Elders, we
    must teach our children
    Inupiaq values:
  • Knowledge of Language
  • Knowledge of Family
  • Sharing
  • Humility
  • Respect for Children
  • Cooperation
  • Hard Work
  • Respect for Elders
  • Respect for Nature
  • Avoid Conflict
  • Family Roles
  • Humor
  • Spirituality
  • Domestic Skills
  • Hunter Success
  • Responsibility to Tribe

Our understanding of our
universe and our place in it is a
belief in God and a respect for
all His creation.

Gold in Northwest Alaska

Largest Gold Nugget from Alaska - 294.10 Troy Ounces
Found near Ruby, Alaska in 1998

After the purchase of Alaska in 1863 by the United States, several government
expeditions were organized to explore the interior lands of Northwest Alaska. The
discovery of gold near the end of the 19th century led to an influx of prospectors
pursuing dreams of gold and wealth. Although some small gold claims were located
and developed in the region, it was a harsh existence for a miner and only a few
stayed. Those who stayed usually married into Native American families.

Lt. Otto Von Kotzebue

One of the early explorers for the Russian
government was Lt. Otto Von Kotzebue, who
"discovered" Kotzebue Sound in 1816. Many of the
names in the region like Chamisso Islands, Kotzebue
Sound, Goodhope River, Cape Deceit, and Spafareif
Bay, remain from the extensive surveys conducted by
Kotzebue's crew.

The coastal and inland
Eskimo of Northwest Alaska
had established a trade
system hundreds of years
prior to "discovery" by
Russian explorers in 1732.

Inupiaq source of food

They were skilled hunters and gatherers, subsisting on whale, fish, caribou, and
moose,supplementing their diet with the berry and root plants native to this region.
They survived the challenges of the Arctic climate and thrived because of a culture
of cooperation and sharing.

Inupiat Eskimos

Laura and Elmer Davis from Kotzebue. They are my great granparents. They traded with the Russians. They are very famous for their trades from dog sledding.They are on fabric, shirts, and sweaters.

The ancestral Inupiat crossed the Bering Land
Bridge from Siberia during the period many
thousands of years ago when the sea level was
much lower than it is now. Some of the early
migrants continued their journeys on to the east
and south. Those who remained in the region
gradually established camps, small villages, and
trading routes.

Eyak masks

The Eyak were organized into two moieties, meaning their clan system is divided into two reciprocating halves or “one of two equal parts”. Their moieties, Raven and the Eagle, equated with the Tlingit Raven and Eagle/Wolf and with the Ahtna Crow and Sea Gull moieties.
Regalia worn at potlatches were the Chilkat and Raven’s Tail woven robes, painted tanned leather clothing, tunics, leggings, moccasins, ground squirrel robes, red cedar ropes, masks, rattles, and frontlets.

Tlingit mask

Sun mask made in 1870.

Athabaskan mask

The Na-Dené (also called Athabascan or Athapascan) language family includes 47 distantly related languages that are spoken over a large area spanning from northwestern Canada and Alaska south to the Rio Grande.

Inupiaq masks

These masks are are called twin masks .
This masks looks like a face in the sun.

Aleut mask

The hunter spirit mask was made in 1987 . This mask is about two people kayaking to go hunt for food.

Yupik mask

Yupik mask
early 20th century
The mask is made out of drift wood, spruce root and metal.
Yup'ik masks made the invisible visible. They are the physical representations of encounters with the spirit world. Spiritual leaders design the masks to represent beings they have seen while in a trance. Every element and motif of a mask has a special purpose, the meaning of which is known only to the creator of the mask.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sugpiaq Masks (Like A Face): Sugpiaq Masks of the Kodiak Archipelago

Today, Wednesday, Nov 19 10:00a
at Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK

These intriguing masks are returning to Alaska for the first time since they were taken to France in 1872. The exhibit features 34 wood masks, a bird-shaped feast bowl and recordings of related ceremonial songs.

Alphonse Pinart

Alphonse Pinart Born in northern France in 1852 Louis Alphonse Pinart was the son of a wealthy iron merchant. Pinart had a gift for linguistics. As a young man he studied Asian languages and anthropology and developed an interest in the ancestral relationships between Native American and Asian peoples.
Castle Museum, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Pinart was just 19 years old when he left the comforts of his academic life in France to journey to Alaska to study Native languages. During his thirteen month journey, he visited the Aleutian Islands, the Alaska Peninsula, and the coast of the Bering Sea traveling as far north as Nunivak Island. In the fall of 1871, he decided to visit Kodiak and paddled for two months reaching the archipelago by kayak in November.

Pinart's visit to the Kodiak region last six months. During his travels he stopped at communities through out the region and collected a wide variety of Alutiiq objects. Boat models, paddles, bows, arrows, headdresses, bowls, spoons, and masks are among the traditional items that Pinart obtained. He also recorded Alutiiq stories and songs.

In 1875, Pinart gave his Alaskan collections to the Châteu Musée, a regional museum in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, a coastal fishing community near his home. The collection, which includes about 300 objects, has remained in the museum's expert care since, miraculously surviving the destruction of two world wars. Today this collection documents important features of both French and Alutiiq history.