Vodcasts Transport People into the Alutiiq World
The Shared Beringian Heritage Program, the Alutiiq Museum, and the video production company WonderVisions, are proud to present a series of vodcasts (short videos) that explore Alutiiq heritage at the southern tip of Kodiak Island. The videos available here are in the public domain and may be downloaded and shared freely.
"Video is a great way to pull people into a story," said Alutiiq Museum Executive Director Sven Haakanson. "It gives the viewer a richer, more detailed sense of people and places, and transport people into the Alutiiq world." Because they are short, visitors can watch them and still have time to tour the museum or watch on line. They are also great for use by teachers, interpreters and others who can follow with an activity or discussion.
For thousands of years, Alutiiq people lived in sod houses and hunted sea mammals, relying on special technologies, ancestral knowledge, and spiritual assistance to care for their families. The Cape Alitak petroglyphs are one of the only written records of their way of life. Pecked into Kodiak's granite bedrock, images of people and animals preserve customs from the Alutiiq past. Museum scientists explain this amazing history in seven short films, of 2 to 8 minutes each. Through them one can learn about the remarkable environment that surrounds Cape Alitak while hearing the stories its sites reveal.Vodcasts include:
- Teaching and Learning the Art of Grass Basket Weaving (7:17)
- Katie Oliver, director of the Kodiak Historical Society's Baranov Museum explains the history of late twentieth century weaving, and efforts to teach the art by weavers Anfesia Shapsnikoff, Eunice Neseth, and Fedosia Inga. Their students June Pardue and Arlene Skinner discuss their learning process, and contemporary students explain how difficult it is to make beautiful basketry with this simple natural material.
- Collecting and Curing Grass (4:05)
- Arlene Skinner, Melissa Berns, June Pardue, and Coral Chernof discuss how they turn wild rye grass into weaving material. Learn about the time consuming process of curing grass, see how weavers care for their weaving material, and discover the different parts of a blade of grass.
- Karluk One Baskets (4:54)
- Alutiiq Museum registrar Marnie Leist shares ancient Alutiiq basketry from the Karluk One site collection.
- Where Are My Grass Socks? (7:27)
- Weaving is a tradition in June Pardue's family. She and her daughter Sofia explain the art and the connection it provides.
- Coral's Cabinet (5:39)
- Tour Coral Chernoff's workshop and see the materials she uses to create her artwork.
- Coral's Basket Feat: Russian Inspired (5:25)
- A visit to St. Petersburg Russia and a collection of ancestral baskets inspired Coral Chernoff to weave a large carrying basket.
- My Little Basket (5:15)
- Elizabeth Peterson is learning Alutiiq weaving as an adult, a process that connects her to her ancestors.
- The Appearing and Dissappearing Petroglyphs of Cape Alitak (6:47)
- Sven Haakanson explores the prehistoric petroglyphs of Cape Alitak, illustrating the images and patterns in their distribution.
- Jewelry Alutiiq Style (4:41)
- Alutiiq people have been wearing jewelry for thousands of years. Marnie Leist and Patrick Saltonstall discuss how labrets - lip plugs of stone, wood, or bone - helped people share their personal identity.
- They Hunt Whales With Poison Spears (9:32)
- The Alutiiq hunters who pursued whales carried special knowledge and spiritual power. Sven Haakanson and Patrick Saltonstall discuss the art of Alutiiq whaling and archaeological evidence of this activity.
- This Sod House (11:20)
- How do archaeologists know where to dig? Follow Patrick Saltonstall, Sven Haakanson, and Mark Rusk around one of Cape Alitak's ancient villages as they identify and describe the depressions made by collapsed houses.
- Going For Charcoal (4:55)
- Wood charcoal helps archaeologists date village sites. Watch Mark Rusk and Patrick Saltonstall uncover an ancient hearth and sample the charcoal it contains.
- What's in This Midden? (3:14)
- Midden is the word archaeologists use to describe ancient garbage. Patrick Saltonstall examines the contents of a Cape Alitak midden and reveals its story.
- Storms at Cape Alitak (3:30)
- Kodiak is known for its blustery weather, but what is it like to camp in the wind? Sven Haakanson and Jill Lipka share their experiences.
You can also view them on the Alutiiq Museum website or YouTube.
A second set of vodcasts will feature Alutiiq basket weaving focusing on the impact of Russian collections. Alutiiq weavers traveled to St. Petersburg to view and consult on the Kunstkamera Museum collection with Alutiiq Museum staff in January of 2010. Both sets of vodcasts will be translated into Russian.