Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
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Parka

qusuŋŋaq “outer parka fur outside”
Language: North Slope Iñupiaq

There were diseases that wiped out many of the people who had the skills to make clothing like this in the early days. First there was starvation followed by introduced diseases, until right up to the 1930s. And people began changing their style of clothing, probably as a result of that.

—Ronald Brower Sr., 2002

This is a young woman’s fancy parka for festivals and ceremonies. The U-shaped bottom edge is a traditional feminine style that is no longer made. The white fur is from the belly of the reindeer, and the brown fur is from its other parts, including leg skins used to make the vertical panels. The seams and bottom are trimmed with wolverine fur. Along the lower edge are a strip of alder-dyed skin, lines of brown fur and red yarn, and a triangular patch of bleached sealskin. Elders said that the fine work shows the young woman’s skill as a seamstress.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Northwest Alaska
Village: Point Barrow
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 132cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: Patrick H. Ray (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E074041