Chugachmiut

HERITAGE PRESERVATION

Clothing

By Mary Babic

OVERVIEW
LESSONS
RESOURCES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
KIT INVENTORY
CHECK OUT KIT
Enduring Understanding:

The local natural resources used to fashion traditional clothing incorporated elements of function, identification, and practices for the people and lifestyle of the Chugach Region.

Essential Questions:

1. What properties of the natural resources made clothing viable for various elements of the environment?
2. Why is clothing significant to the physical and spiritual aspect of the Chugach culture?

Elder Quote:

“I have read somewhere that there are a million hairs per square inch on a sea otter hide. Sea otter makes a nice hat, mittens, or parka because it is so warm. The nicest fur around.” -Peggy McDaniel, Cordova

Clothing Overview

The Chugach Sugpiat and Eyak people made clothing that kept them warm and dry. It was believed the clothing had special spiritual and social meanings. The following excerpt from Looking Both Ways wonderfully describes what the clothing kit is based on along with our Chugach Elder’s traditional ecological knowledge (TEK).“Beautiful craftsmanship by Alutiiq seamstresses expressed respect for animals, whose skins enveloped the clothed persons and whose spirits in the wild were ever alert to human attitudes, actions, and appearance. Mindful of this relationship, hunters wore new, clean garments, and men and women donned their best parkas, beaded headdresses, ermine hats, and other special garments for the winter hunting ceremonies. Clothing, jewelry, and tattoos, were equally important as a means of social communication. Variations in style, and materials signaled a person’s rank, gender, age, and place of origin. The clothing was fashioned with a multidimensional expression of culture and values.”

In this heritage kit, students will learn about traditional clothing from head to toe. The kit has lessons that incorporate the variety of materials and animals used for the clothing. The virtual wardrobe can be used to enhance the clothing lessons that allow the students to see themselves clad in traditional clothing. The puppets made by Mary Babic, Cecil and Exenia (Sugpiat puppets) and Galushia and Sophie (Eyak puppets) will provide a visual understanding of the important role that clothing played in the survival of our people.

Lessons on how to gather, harvest and weave with spruce roots. The spruce root lessons will also teach about the significance and representation of the spruce root hunting hat. Lessons about the many types of furs and bird skins used to construct a parka, the value of each and ornamentation. Lessons about the waterproof stitch used on intestines of a seal, whale, sea lion, or bear or with fish skins to construct a waterproof garment. Students will learn to construct a traditional sewing bag and become aware of bone needles and sealskin thimbles that were carefully stored in this bag. Lessons on how to thigh spin, twine and weave mountain goat wool that was traditionally used to create a beautiful robe for warmth and social status. Students will learn about how to create mittens, boots and the resources the Sugpiat and Eyak used to create these functional yet beautiful pieces of artwork. The lessons will incorporate insulation properties and resources used to keep their feet and hands warm and dry.

As the students are learning about traditional clothing, our Sugpiat and Eyak elders emphasized they also understand the importance to respect our land and resources. This passed down knowledge will ensure continued use through many generations to come.

Lessons & Curriculum

PRE K-2
GRADE 3-5
GRADE 6-8
GRADE 9-12
KIT INVENTORY
CHECK OUT KIT
PRE K-12

Furs & Feathers - Lesson 1-2
How Warm Are Furs & Feathers - Lesson 3
Sinew & Stitches - Lessons 4-5
Salmon & Seals - Lesson 6-7
Gut Parka - Lesson 8
Spruce Root Hats - Lesson 9
PRE K-2 All Lessons - 1-9

GRADE 3-5

Designing & Storytelling With Your Own Chugach Puppet - Lesson 1-7
All About Spruce Roots - Lesson 8-10
GRADE 3-5 - All Lessons 1-10

GRADE 6-8

Kakiwik, Thimble and Sinew
Fish Skin Tanning
Waterproof Stitch with Gut
Sewing With Fur
Ravenstail Weaving

GRADE 9-12

Kakiwik, Thimble and Sinew
Fish Skin Tanning
Waterproof Stitch with Gut
Sewing With Fur
Ravenstail Weaving
RESOURCES / MEDIA

Video Library

Spruce Root Weaver

Nuta’at Mingqusqat | New Alutiiq Skin Sewers

Teri Rofkar, Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist 2013

Delores with a spruce root hat in progress

Patience Andersen-Faulkner, Cordova, on Clothing

Material Traditions - Sewing Salmon

Material Traditions: Sewing Gut

Gut Parka Informational Video

Salmon Skin Tanning by Mary Babic

Chugach Tradtional Clothing Puppet Show featuring Exenia, Cecil, Galusia and Sophie

Student’s Traditional Clothing Puppet Show

Gathering Spruce Root

How to Make a Kakiwik

Patience Andersen-Faulkner on Twining

Other Resources

Bibliography & Resources for Clothing

BIBLIOGRAPHY & RESOURCES
Community Field Trips

Chenega
Cordova
Nanwalek
Port Graham
Seward
Tatitlek
Valdez

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HERITAGE PRESERVATION

1840 Bragaw Street, Suite 110
Anchorage, Alaska 99508-3463
www.chugachmiut.org

DOE

ANA Grant Number S356A150066


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