The Art of Arctic Woodworking

Noatak National Preserve


Many people that live close to Noatak National Preserve have traditional skills that have been passed down through generations. James McClellan has a special talent for building boats and sleds from driftwood that he collects along the rivers near his home in Kotzebue, AK. This short film showcases three objects that James and his family built: an umiak, a kayak, and a dogsled. They are displayed at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center in Kotzebue. The transcripts of interviews with James and his wife Sally provide an in-depth look at their building process and remarkable skills.