Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 

Boots

kamepigik “pair of woman’s knee-high sealskin boots”
Language: St. Lawrence Island Yupik

Also called:
kaamget “boots”
Language: St. Lawrence Island Yupik

You know that Eskimos have no measuring tapes…They use their hands from thumb to middle finger for measuring. They’re good skin sewers.

—Estelle Oozevaseuk, 2001

This pair of woman’s waterproof summer boots is made of scraped seal hide with whitened seal skin around the tops. The thin ornamental bands of red and white leather are called takaghaghquq. The soles are bearded seal or walrus hide, sewn to the boot with a running stitch. Traditionally, women were the boot-makers; they measured the pattern pieces with their hands and fingers, chewed the leather soles to soften them, and sewed the boots with thread spun from the sinews of whales and reindeer.

Culture: St. Lawrence Island Yupik
Region: St. Lawrence Island, Alaska
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 51.8cm
Accession Date: 1924
Source: A. E. Thompson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 133740.000