Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Media
Related Objects


inuguaq “small wooden doll”
Language: Central Yup'ik

Also called:
irniaruaq “pretend person, doll”
Language: Central Yup'ik

Tua-i-llu nutaan ilii tauna waten inuguallermini ellami makuciq waten ellamun anulluku ilami nalluani pirtunglliniuq uksurpak arulayunani nunat taukut tuani nuniitni. (One of them played with a doll like this and brought it outside, and no one knew about it. Soon the weather became stormy and stayed bad all winter without ceasing in their village.)

—John Phillip Sr., 2002

A Yup’ik girl’s dolls were toys as well as symbols of her future life as an adult. A girl played house with them, using miniature dishes and tools and blankets made of mouse skins. There was a strict rule against taking a doll outside during winter and breaking it was thought to bring endless cold and storms. Girls took their “pretend children” outdoors only after certain migrating birds – on Nelson Island, the red-throated loon – appeared in the spring.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Bristol Bay, Alaska
Object Category: Toys, games
Dimensions: Height 44cm
Accession Date: 1882
Source: Charles L. McKay (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E055904