Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Snow goggles

nigaugek “old-style snow goggles made out of wood”
Language: Central Yup'ik

They always paint the inside of goggles black, so our eyes won’t be bothered by the glare and can stay wide open.

—Alex Bird, from “Yuungnaqpiallerput: The Way We Genuinely Live,” 2007

These well-used goggles have large eye openings and are blackened with soot inside to eliminate reflections. Representations of snow goggles, or perhaps the soot rings they leave around the eyes, appear on ceremonial masks, where they may symbolize enhanced spiritual vision.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Alaska
Village: Kushunuk
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 25.5cm
Accession Date: 1879
Source: Edward W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E036351