Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Snow goggles

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

Those who get snow blind easily when they’re down on the ocean during spring, when the sun’s rays are too bright, used snow goggles. And they were good for when the wind was blowing.

—Frank Andrews, from “Yuungnaqpiallerput: The Way We Genuinely Live,” 2007

These snow goggles are carved in the form of an animal mask, probably representing a fox. Arctic foxes have keen eyesight for hunting on the land and sea ice, a quality that the mask/goggles may have been intended to transfer to the person wearing them.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Lower Yukon River, Alaska
Village: Sabotnisky
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 19.3cm
Accession Date: n.d.
Source: Edward W. Nelson (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E048996