Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Sewing bag

immusrfik “sewing bag”
Language: Qawiaraq Iñupiaq

My folks used to make [something] for their sewing things. A piece of cloth, or maybe they used to have a piece of skin, a soft one with the fur off. They rolled and tied it up.

—Anna Etageak, 2001

Iñupiaq women around Norton Sound used roll-up bags like this to store their sewing tools. Sewing bags have a pocket at the bottom and a U-shaped flap at the top, to which a cord with a fastener is attached. The pouches held needles, thimbles, boot-sole creasers, awls, small ulu knives, and other items. This bag is made of cloth with a tanned reindeer skin flap; the decorative strips are black rockfish skin and dyed seal esophagus; and the fur trim is river otter.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Norton Sound, Alaska
Village: Unalakleet
Object Category: Baskets, bags, boxes
Dimensions: Length 46cm
Accession Date: 1867
Source: W. H. Dall (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E007602