Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Woman’s knife

uluuraq “woman’s small knife”
Language: Qawiaraq Iñupiaq

You keep this in your immusrfik [sewing bag]. My mother has real small ones, about like this [approximately two inches], but real sharp, primarily for sewing.

—Oscar Koutchak, 2001

A small uluuraq [ulu], or semi-circular knife, is used by skin sewers for all kinds of precise cutting. This size was also employed to skin a seal from the inside, through its mouth. Larger ulus are used for cutting meat, blubber, and fish.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Norton Sound, Alaska
Village: Unalakleet
Object Category: Tools
Dimensions: Length 5.6cm
Accession Date: 1880
Source: E. W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E043866