Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Here is the actual top of the harpoon that i chose from the down town Anchorage Museum. It is the one to the left. Unfortunatly, only the tip of the harpoon is showing. From what I obsorbed, i could tell that the ivory head was dried out. As many people know, when the inner core of the ivory tusk dries out it tends to bend in the direction of the side where the majority of the sotfer center ivory is. For example, try raising your hand in front of you with your finger tips pointing up with your palm facing the right or left. Here is the concept, if the left side of your hand were to be the side with the inner core on it, it would curve in favor of that side. This is pronounced on this particular harpoon and is easily noticed when twirled around.
As you can tell there are many types of harpoon heads. It really is up to the person who is making the harpoon that determins the overall length, style, and coloring. There are a lot of examples here as well revealing the detailed work that it takes to shape the sharp tips that will one day be used, or have already been used in retreaving sea mammals. In the top right picture you can tell the difference between the contemporary harpoon versus the more traditional one by the brass both supporting and adding strength to the shaft.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Riordan, A. (2008). Yuungnaqpiallerput. pp 143,157.
Yuungnaqpiallerput: The way we genuinly live, an encyclopedia of knowledge gathered by Ann Fienup-Riordan bestows great appreciation for the feistiness and ability to survive of the natives in Alaska. The elegantly written book has a plethera of unique information ranging from harpoon head artifacts to emperor goose parkas. There really isn't anything you couldn't find interesting because of the love, effort, and detail she has insulated this book with.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Paitarkiutenka/MY LEGACY TO YOU," is a powerful collection of knowledge collected by Ann Fienup-Riordan; told by my late grandfather Frank Miisaq Andrew. It consists of ways of living, stories; explinations of animal behaviors, hunting techniques specific to an animal; types of wood, kayak parts, and countless other wonderful facts about Yup'ik culture. In the picture my great-grandfather, Min'garalria is in the left of the picture sitting down, my other great-grandfather Alluk is sitting down as well at the right of the picture behind the "ukinqucuk" (bow piece with hole in it).

My dad has a picture of my brother and I working on a kayak while we were watching the rose bowl in the background. I will try to get it up here so you can see the comparison. We will do our best to carry on the tradition.

Wilkinson,B. (2008). Qayanek: Of and about Kayaks. Retrieved November 9, 2010, from
"Builders of the most authentic Native American seal skin qayat (kayaks) in the world"
Qayanek is passionately dedicated to antiquity research, documentation, preservation, and construction of the traditional Native American Yup'ik Caninermiut Qayaq.

Qayanek builds kayaks as close as possible to how they were designed in traditional mud houses. Of the two basic Yup'ik kayak designs, the less documented eastern version, built in Kwigillingok, Alaska, may be the more elegantly engineered.

The Caninermiut Qayaq has 2 bow, 4 stern, and 5 cross members that are tediously extracted from the bends of driftwood spruce stumps. All measurements are custom anthropomorphic body measurements. Qayanek's real seal skin on frame kayak is caulked using seal oil and moss, with grass strands backing the inner seams.

The paragraphs above are from Qayanek's website briefly describing some of the details about the work that we do. I failed to mention that I am part of Qayanek, it is part of who I am as a person now. I have been raised and taught how to construct the skeletal kayak structure under the guidance of my father (Bill Wilkinson) and late grandfather (Frank Andrew).
Frank Andrew's son and student, Qayanek master traditional qayaq builder Noah Andrew Sr., sits next to the Qayanek built Loon qayaq adorned with one of his father's two traditional deck design. 2006 On the lake side of the kayak you can see the head of the harpoon where it's held by an ivory hook.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Seal hunting on Kulusuk - Greenland 2009

Here is an example of how the harpoon is thrown from a kayak. As lunds were introduced to Natives around Alaska they found the lund more convienient, having a larger payload as well as being faster than traditional kayaks they took advantage of the motor powered vessels.