Alutiiq Museum, and Wednesday Market

Sophie, one of the ladies from church who is Alutiiq by heritage, a former homeschool mom, and heavily involved with the Native association here in Kodiak arranged a guided tour of the museum for us and our kids as well as her daughter-in-law, daughter and four grandkids.  We were so thankful for the opportunity, and although it didn’t start until 11:00am due to our late night and rough morning (it was a tuff morning for pain management with Eve) we were dragging.  We decided we had better pick up coffee on the way.  

The tour was great!  We learned a lot of things we wouldn’t have picked out on our own.  My favorite thing was Hannah (Sophie’s daughter) telling us about the native regalia on display that she was a part of making.  She was able to tell us about each fur that was used.  An how they went about making it as authentic as possible even though things like the pelican beaks are no longer legal to collect.  In this case they used a 3D printer to create pelican beaks then painted them to look like the real thing. And really you can’t tell the difference. 

The main body of the regalia is baby caribou, the curly decorative fringe is land otter.  The little white puffs are ermine (a little white weasel like critter).  The long white wisps were mountain goat and the thick dark brown cuffs and decorative puffs are sea otter.  The brown and black is for the land red for the blood line of the people, and white for the snow. The dance regalia that the Alutiiq dancers wear has awesome puffy stripes of white that is really eye catchingly beautiful.  Hannah (Sophie’s Hannah) wore this outfit and danced at it’s unveiling here at the museum.  Such an amazing project.  Caleb’s favorite part was the videos on how to prepare octopus, chiton, seaweed and many other sea provisions for consumption.  They would go from start to finish and were quite detailed and below the display was recipe cards it is too bad that there is a health warning on shell fish in this area right now and it is not advised to eat local mussels, clams, or chiton at this time. 

Eve loved the petroglyph rubbings and kids play area with Alutiiq animals and games and Hannah was loving the gift store section the most. 

The masks below are from a French explorer that traded with the Alutiiq people on the island of Kodiak.  They are on a five year loan rotating through the masks with other museums. 

A map of their territory and a break down of their language although the letters look familier the sounds are not.  The letter L makes a TH sound.  

These canoes would be single hull most of the time and could transport a whole family through frigid water.  They must have been so skilled to not tip and spill the whole family (you die quickly in water this cold).  The double hulled boats (some times triple) would be so they could send a Russian “supervisor” with an Alutiiq hunter as the Alutiiq people were inslaved by the Russians and forced to hunt sea otters for their pelts the population was almost completely wiped out by this and the culture, hope, traditions, and language was stripped away from the Alutiiq people.  The kyacks are designed with a bifurcated tip to break through the waves and was a wooden body wrapped in seal skin.  Below is a traditional bent wood hat.  Thin pieces of wood were soaked and bent to fit a worriers head and then decorated.  

The museum gave me information about their education boxes that you can check out they are mostly for schools to check out and include in their education plans, but they encouraged me to check them out and then they sent us home with the history one.  I’m a little nervous to have it as it is a big responsibility.  We have watched the dancing video which included a lot of elders telling what they remember and were told by their parents about Alutiiq life before the Russian enslavement and then we listened to the songs included.  The language sounds like it would be very challenging to learn it includes many sounds my mouth has not ever practiced making. 

 We then headed to the health food place (McDonalds ☺️) to grab some lunch to eat at the harbor.  I walked across to Harborside to meet the church ladies for Wednesday coffee and it ended up only being the Fretts, Me and Sandra.  The place was full and there were no tables big enough for our group so we took our coffees and walked over to the harbor and as a group enjoyed the boats and sun.  Sandra took the kids to walk the docks.  It is one of their new favorite activities.  The people who live and work on the boats are friendly and will answer any questions the kids have and make sure to say hi waving as you walk by.  Chad took his turn to get a break walking over to True Value to look for paint pens.  Rock painting is a big thing around here and we would love to try that sometime soon.

I’m kind of surprised we managed to keep Eve’s arm dry. 
The kids exchanged books at the library and then we chilled at the house, picked salmon berries and played at the playground.  Waiting until the Wednesday market opened at 6:00pm.  At 6:00pm we parked across from the market.  There was nothing there.  Then slowly people started showing up with tables and all of the sudden it was a full blown market. We found some yummy tea but didn’t buy any this time.  We bought more fireweed jelly, jalapeño jelly, two cupcakes and Caleb bought a few cookies.  The kids did an art project at the art table then we headed home so wiped out and tired still from the day before. 

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