Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
Related Objects

Boat (model)

nig^aalax^ “baidar, open skin boat, canvas boat”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Eastern Aleut dialect)

Also called:
nig^ilax^ “baidar; open skin boat, canvas boat”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Eastern Aleut dialect)

In early years, this was used for halibut fishing and sea lion hunting…When the men used to go fur seal hunting, they’d come in on the beach in the rocks there, and then they’d put all the skins inside the baidar. These baidars were seaworthy, and even if you got them full of water, they’d float.

—Vlass Shabolin, 2003

Large skin boats carried people and cargo between islands and on long-distance expeditions. The nig^aalax^,made with a driftwood frame and covered with sea lion skins, could hold up to twenty passengers and crew. The original design had a rounded bow and was propelled with paddles. Russian fur trade companies imported a Siberian design that was more suited to their purposes. These boats, which resembled the model shown here, were wider, more stable, and had wooden seats. The bow was slanted and sharply pointed, and oars were used. The modified boats are often called by their Russian name, baidar.

Culture: Unangax (Aleut)
Region: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Object Category: Boats
Dimensions: Length 61cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: Dr. Leonhard Stejneger (collector, donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E073019