Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge



ivġusiik “pair of waterproof boots”
Language: Qawiaraq Iñupiaq

My grandpa used to wear these.

—Oscar Koutchak, 2001

Sealskin hunting boots like these are rugged and waterproof. The black color results from a tanning method that does not remove the skin’s outer layer or its natural, water-repellent oils. A tuŋniq (strip of skin) is sewn into the seam between sole and upper, to prevent leaks. This type of boot is lightweight and also breathable, allowing perspiration to escape so the feet stay drier than in rubber or plastic boots.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Golovnin Bay, Norton Sound, Alaska
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length: 48cm (toe to heel)
Accession Date: 1880
Source: Edward W. Nelson (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E043321