Language: Bering Strait Iñupiaq
This kayak has a northern feel. The hole on one end of the kayak is used for lifting, and the shape is different from Yup’ik kayaks; Yup’ik ones are more circular, while northern holes are more oval, elongated. Yup’ik kayaks have a large round hole at the bow of the boat.
—Chuna McIntyre and Vernon Chimegalrea, 2007
Museum records do not identify where this kayak was built, but its construction and design appear to be Iñupiaq, from northern Alaska. The style of the waterproof stitching; the pattern in which the seal skins are joined; the construction of the frame, including the boat’s closely-spaced ribs; the shape of the bow and stern, which provide handholds for carrying the boat; and the boat’s overall lines and dimensions suggest that it was constructed at King Island in the Bering Sea. The owner tucked his tools, hunting weapons, and extra paddle beneath the leather deck cords, which pass through walrus ivory spear guards.
Region: King Island, Alaska
Object Category: Boats
Dimensions: Length 449cm
Accession Date: 1981
Source: Marjorie M. Post (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E419041A
To learn more about the history of this object, read a report by Smithsonian conservators at http://anthropology.si.edu/accessinganthropology/alaska/gallerykayak.html (copy and paste this address into your internet browser).