Sugpiaq Headdress (Nacaq)
Glass beads, leather, imitation sinew, and metal charms
"When I was creating this piece, I wanted it to model the timeline of the Sugpiaq people. The top rows hold the traditional Sugpiaq colors of red, white and black and represent our traditions and values before Russian contact. The second row is the Russian flag and represents the Russian conquest and colonial rule. The third row is the U.S.A. flag and represents the State of Alaska being sold to the United States. The grey and eventual turn into black beads represents the hardships, disease and traumatic events on the Sugpiaq identity.
- Kayla Christiansen
Kayla Christiansen, a 23 year old Alutiiq artist, has been sewing with sealskin and beading since she was seven years old. Christiansen first learned how to sew with sealskin during an Alutiiq week in Old Harbor, where she grew up. With practice she developed her skill. At first, she gave away her pieces for free, but people told her it was so good she could make money from it. Christiansen started selling her pieces at age 12, after only five years of working with the material.
Last updated: October 4, 2017