Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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kulusuk “pair of boots”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Alaska Peninsula dialect)

My dad had skin boots ... made out of sealskin, I believe it was, with sea lion skin on the bottom. And they put the grass inside of them. They don’t leak.

—Larry Matfay, 1992, from the Alutiiq Museum oral history archives

These delicate child-sized boots have uppers made of caribou leg skin, encircled at the top with seal fur. The neatly creased soles may be sea lion. Embroidered bands at the cuffs and on the front of each boot are composed of narrow strips of sea lion esophagus, both natural color and dyed, which has been cross-stitched with caribou hair. Decorative tassels of red-dyed skin and white fur end in puffin beaks filled with caribou hair. The boots were sewn with sinew thread.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Alaska Peninsula
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Height 24cm
Accession Date: 1858
Source: Lt. Charles Wilkes, U.S. Exploring Expedition
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E002129