Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge



qanganaq “ground-squirrel parka”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Alaska Peninsula dialect)

The woman who sewed this parka used a lot of small pieces and obviously didn’t throw things away. I’m sure she didn’t, because these are very tiny pieces of sea otter, which she would have saved. It appears that she didn’t waste anything; she even left the feet on some of the squirrels!

—Susan Malutin, 1996

The furs used for this man’s ceremonial parka suggest relative wealth and status. It was sewn from forty-eight ground squirrel skins with the tails left on. Tassels of valuable sea otter fur and strips of red wool cloth and white ermine fur accent the horizontal seams; fringes of red-dyed squirrel skin ornament the vertical ones. White caribou fur appears on the collar, cuffs, shoulders, sleeves, and chest, and strips of mink were added to the shoulders. Decorative tabs made of red cloth, caribou hide, and dyed seal esophagus are attached to the back of the collar.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Alaska Peninsula
Village: Ugashik
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 121cm
Accession Date: 1884
Source: William J. Fisher (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E090469