Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Grass bag

kellarvik “storage bag”
Language: Central Yup'ik

Also called:
qemaggvik “container”
Language: Central Yup'ik

Also called:
issran “twined grass carrying-bag”
Language: Central Yup'ik

In the month of October, we gather grass as soon as they all turn to white. It’s the time when they get white and very strong, very healthy.

—Neva Rivers, 2002

Storage baskets for food and clothing are woven from taperrnaq, the coarse rye grass that grows by beaches and on coastal hillsides. Women harvest the grass in fall after it loses its green color. This basket has a strap and carved wooden yoke for carrying loads on the back.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Southwest Alaska
Object Category: Baskets, bags, boxes
Object Type: Basket
Dimensions: Length 59cm
Accession Date: 1902
Source: I.C. Russell (collector, donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E217807