Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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piluguuk “pair of skin boots”
Language: Central Yup'ik

We wore these all the time, year-round…except in the summertime, when we usually went barefoot or used short little boots. Mostly we used these caribou boots for warmth.

—Neva Rivers, 2002

This pair of woman’s winter boots was made from the leg skins of a caribou. Fur from the backs of the caribou’s legs – which is usually in the best condition on a living animal – was used for the fronts of the boots. Bands of white caribou or reindeer fur encircle the tops, ornamented with stripes of brown beaver or bear fur and tassels of the same material. Caribou skin tassels, tufts of red yarn, and white hair decorate the legs. The soles of the boots are bearded seal hide.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Bristol Bay, Alaska
Village: Nushagak
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 51cm (toe to heel, max measurement)
Accession Date: 1879
Source: Edward W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E038871