Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge



imgug^dax^ “sewing kit made of gutskin”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Atkan dialect)

Also called:
idug^ilgix^ “bag, sack”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Atkan dialect)

And after we had supper, sometimes it was very nice out, so she let us play for a while, and then around seven we all had to come in, my sisters and I…And there was a certain day we’d do sewing by hand, do certain kinds of stitches…That’s when we learned how to do things as a woman’s supposed to do.

—Mary Bourdukofsky, 2003

Women created beautiful small bags from the intestines of sea lions and the gullets of seals. David Samwell, who visited Unalaska Island in 1778 with Captain James Cook, noticed small bags that “they ornament very pretty with their needles.” Elders said that this bag is made from sea lion intestine stitched together with sinew thread, and was probably used to hold sewing materials. The decorative stitching was done with embroidery thread. Older bags were decorated with caribou or mountain goat hair, seal fur, bird feathers, and strips of black or colored esophagus.

Culture: Unangax (Aleut)
Region: Alaska
Village: Atka
Object Category: Baskets, bags, boxes
Dimensions: Length 29.5cm
Accession Date: 1882
Source: Lucien M. Turner (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E065270