Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 

Boots

atikullak “pair of man’s knee-high fancy boots”
Language: North Slope Iñupiaq

Iŋilgaan nauŋ qaa tarrani qargimi. (Long ago they danced right there at the community house.)

—Oscar Koutchak, 2001

These are men’s caribou skin dress boots for winter ceremonies and dancing. A man would tuck the undecorated tops inside his short dance pants. The upper parts are made with alternating vertical strips of white caribou belly and brown caribou leg skin. Geometric bands around the top include reindeer fur, caribou fur, and red yarn. The ruffs are wolverine and the straps are sealskin. The soles are made of bearded seal hide, heavily scraped to make it soft and light in color. Insulating layers worn inside boots included grass socks, caribou skin socks, sealskin slippers, grass footpads and stuffing, or shavings of whale baleen.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Northwest Alaska
Village: Point Barrow
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 61cm
Accession Date: 1892
Source: John Murdoch (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E153892