Alaska Native Traditional Dress Bibliography
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*Alaska Geographic, Vol. 6, No. 3: Alaska's Native People. Anchorage, 1979. Layman's book providing a brief overview of Alaska Native groups. Chiefly valuable for its color photos of contemporary Alaskans.
*Blumenstein, Rita Pitka. Earth Dyes. Fairbanks: Institute of Alaska Native Arts, 1984. Technical manual on dyeing using native Alaskan plants.
Collins, Henry, Frederica De Laquna, Edmund Carpenter, and Peter Stone. The Far North: 2000 Years of American Eskimo and Indian Art. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1973. Exceptional book with many clear black and white photos of little-seen examples of Alaskan art.
*Fair, Susan W. Alaska Geographic, Vol. 12, No. 3: Alaska Native Arts and Crafts. Anchorage, 1985. A layman's book introducing the beginner to the history and present practice of traditional Alaskan arts and crafts like mask making, ivory carving, etc. Provides lots of color pictures of museum examples, and museum-quality modern work.
*Fitzhugh, William W., and Aron Cromwell. Crossroads of Continents; Cultures of Siberia and Alaska. Washington: Smithsonian, 1988: Companion book (not exhibit catalog) to the recent Crossroads of Continents Traditional Dress exhibit. Contains color pictures of all the garments in the exhibit, detailed description of the culture of the Siberian and Alaskan regions, and an entire chapter on the spiritual/religious basis of many Native traditions of clothing construction.
Steinbright, Jan. Ed. Alaskameut '86: An Exhibit of Contemporary Alaska Native Masks. Fairbanks: Institute of Alaska Native Arts, 1986. Slender, magazine style exhibit catalog. Shows several truly interesting modern interpretations of traditional mask forms.
*Wilder, Edna. Secrets of Eskimo Skin Sewing. Anchorage: Alaska Northwest, 1976. Clear, simple instructions for stretching, cutting and sewing furs into a variety of useful garments. Contains patterns, black and white sewing diagrams, and color photos of completed objects. This book is used at the University of Alaska as the textbook for its skin sewing class.
The Tlingit (pronounced Kling-kit) Indians are Northwest Coast Indians, related to the Haida people of Canada. The Tlingit live in the rainy, unfrozen Southeastern part of Alaska, where the land is extremely abundant in natural resources like fish, beaver, seal, and trees. Compared to other Native Alaskan groups before contact, the Tlingit were very "rich", living far above basic subsistence level, and they consequently developed a very complex material culture.
Tlingit art and clothing was primarily indicative of their elaborate social hierarchy and clan groups. Tlingit clothing includes the Chilcat Blanket a fringed robe that was woven into complex heraldic patterns and worn by high nobles and chiefs, the Button Blanket an appliqu�d robe made of black and red Hudson Bay Company blankets and decorated with hundreds of mother of pearl buttons, Tunics made in the styles of the above two robes, and Potlatch Hats usually carved of wood in the animal design of the wearer's clan.
Tlingit clothing is now used only for ceremonial occasions, much the way tailcoats are used in Western culture, and consequently, like tailcoats, has remained largely fixed in style since the 19th Century. Tlingit design forms, however, are plastered all over T-shirts, and jewelry worn throughout the state.
Tlingit Indian Clothing: Bibliography by Marciella Brown
Billman, Esther Lisle. Tlingit Clothing and Ornament. Sitka: Sheldon Jackson Museum, 1975.
Black, Lydia. The Bentwood Hats of Alaska: Symbols of Power and Identity. Juneau: Alaska State Museum, 1988.
Carlson, Roy L. Indian Art Traditions of the Northwest Coast. Burnaby: Archeology Press, 1982.
Emmons, George T. "The Chilcat Blanket." Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History 3.4 (1907): 229-277.
Gunther, Erna. Art in the Life of the Northwest Coast Indians. Portland: Portland Art Museum, 1966.
*Hall, Betty. Totemic Design Forms. Juneau: Betty's Rainbow Press, 1984. Editor's note: Black and white spiral bound how-to book for making designs with traditional forms.
Hall, Edwin S. Jr. Northwest Coast Indians Graphics. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1981.
Hanson, Charles E. "The Point Blanket." Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly 12.1 (1976): 5-10.
*Jensen, Doreen and Polly Sargent. Robes of Power. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986. Editor's note: brief history of button blankets, with numerous color examples of modern blankets from British Columbia.
Matthews, Downs. "Reproducing Alaska's Aboriginal Art." The Humble Way First Quarter (1972): 2-7.
Razumovskaia, R.S. "Plentenye Izdeliia Severo - Zapdnykh Ikdeitzeu." [Woven Objects of the Northwest Coast Indians]. Sbornik Muzeia Antropoloqii I Etnografii 24: 93-123.
*Samuel, Cheryl. The Chilcat Dancing Blanket. Seattle: Pacific Search Press, 1982. Editor's note: Incredibly detailed, scholarly work on the history and construction of Chilcat blankets with many pictures. Contains sufficient weaving diagrams to reproduce one should you have the necessary skill and two years time to do it.
Stewart, Hilary. Indian Artifacts of the Northwest Coast. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975.
Wherry, Joseph W. The Totem Pole Indians. New York: Wifred Funk, 1964.
Woodcock, George. People of the Coast. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1977. | align="left" valign="top" |Google |- | align="left" valign="top" |
Inuit Punch-Out Masks Sinews of Survival : The Living Legacy of Inuit Clothing
Athabaskan Indians (sometimes spelled Athapaskan) were part of a semi-nomadic language group, living predominantly in forested central Alaska and the Yukon, but with branches as far south as Arizona. Athabaskan culture endured a violent upheaval with the introduction of Western traders in the 19th Century, changing from a subsistence culture to a fur trapping culture, directly connected to the rise and fall of fur sales in the Western world.
Their clothing in the immediate post-contact period reflected this change by the adoption of Western Garment features: Italian and Czech trade beads replaced porcupine quillwork, men discarded their traditional leather pullover tunics for leather Chief's Jackets cut on the lines of British military officers tunics, women changed from wearing leather tunic and trouser sets to wearing calf length leather dresses, and Athabaskans of both sexes adopted the post-contact version of the Eskimo parka, which also had adopted Western features like front closings and pockets.
The most famous Athabaskan textile art is Athabaskan Beadwork which uses seed beads couched to moose hide in geometric and floral patterns. This is the primary contemporary surviving piece of Athabaskan traditional dress: worn as jewelry, glove decoration, and embellishment on moccasins by both Athabaskans and Anglos. Chief's jackets are also worn at events like the Tanana Chief's Conference and the Native Arts Festival, and traditional tunics and dresses are still worn by Native dance groups.
Athabaskan Indian (Central Alaska + Yukon) Clothing and Beadwork: Bibliography by Anne McBeth
Cadzon, Donald A. "Old Loucheux Clothing." Indian Notes 2 (1925): 292-95.
Dene Nation. Denedeh - A Dene Celebration. Northwest Territories: Yellowknife Denedeh, 1984.
Duncan, Kate Corbin. Bead Embroidery of the Northern Athabaskans: Style, Design, Evolution, and Transfer. Dissertation, University of Washington, 1982.
*Duncan, Kate. Northern Athapaskan Art: A Beadwork Tradition. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988. Editor's note: Readable yet scholarly hardcover book on the history and technique of Athabaskan beadwork. Contains many color and black and white pictures of historical examples of beadwork.
*Duncan, Kate. Some Warmer Tone: Alaska Athabaskan Bead Embroidery. Fairbanks: University of Alaska, 1984. Editor's note: Smaller paperbound book similar to above, with sewing diagrams and examples of historical and contemporary beadwork reproduced in color.
Duncan, Kate C. "The Metis and Production of Embroidery in the Subarctic." The Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly 17.3 (1981): 1-8.
Duncan, Kate C. "Yukon River Athabaskan Costume in the 1860's: Contributions of the Ethnographic Illustrations of William Dall." Faces, Voices and Dreams. Sitka: Sheldon Jackson Museum, 1987.
*Duncan, Kate Corbin, with Eunice Carney. A Special Gift - The Kutchin Beadwork Tradition. Seattle: University of Washington, 1988. Editor's note: Similar to Northern Athapaskan Art .
Fairbanks Native Association. Athabaskan Beading. Fairbanks: 1978.
Hatt, Gumund. Moccasins and Their Relations to Arctic Footwear. New York: American Anthropological Association, vol. 3, 1916.
*Institute of Alaska Native Arts. From Skins, Trees, Quills, and Beads: The Work of Nine Athabaskans. Fairbanks: Institute of Alaska Native Arts, 1985. Editor's note: Biographical sketches of modern Native craftspeople, including a beadworker. Illustrated.
Jenkins, Michael R. "Glass Trade Beads in Alaska." Alaska Journal 2.3 (1972): 31-19.
Leechman, Douglas. Vanta Kutchin. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada, 1951.
McKennan, Robert A. The Upper Tanana Indians. New Haven: Yale University, 1959.
Murray, Alexander Hunter. Journal of the Yukon. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1910.
National Museum of Man. The Athabaskans: Strangers of the North. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, 1974.
*Nelson, Richard K. The Athabaskans: People of the Boreal Forest. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Museum, 1983. Editor's note: Readable history of the life, crafts and traditions of the Athabaskan people in Alaska, shown with numerous historical photos and artifacts.
Orchard, William C. Beads and Beadwork of the American Indian. New York: Museum of the American Indian, 1929.
*Orchard, William C. The Technique of Porcupine Quill Decoration Among the North American Indians. New York: Museum of the American Indian, 1916. Editor's note: Reprint of the classic scholarly study of quillwork, complete with excruciatingly detailed drawings and instructions on quillwork technique.
Osgood Cornelius. Yale University Publications in Anthropology #22: Inqalik Material Culture. New Haven: Yale University, 1971.
Osgood, Cornelius. Yale University Publications in Anthropology #74 The Han Indians. New Haven: Yale University, 1971.
Schmitter, Ferdinand. "Upper Yukon Native Customs and Folklore." Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 56.4 (1910): 1-30.
Shternberg, Lev Ia. "Ornament iz Olen'ego Volosa I Igl Dikobraza." (Reindeer Hair and Porcupine Quill Ornamentation). Sovetskaia Etnografiia 3-4 (1931): 103-121.
Simeone, William, Jr. "The Alaska Athapaskan Chief's Coat." American Indian Art Magazine 8.2 (1983): 64-69.
Thompson, Judy. "Preliminary Study of Traditional Kutchin Clothing in Museums." Mercury Series, National Museum of Canada 1 (1972).
Toghotthele Corporation. Nenana Denayee. Nenana: Toghotthele Corp., 1983.
Turner, Geoffrey. "Hair Embroidery in Siberia and North America." Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, Occasional Papers on Technology 7 (1976).
Van Stone, James W. Athapaskan Clothing and Related Objects in the Collections of the Field Museum of Natural History. Field Museum of Natural History #4, 1981.
The Yupik, Inupiat and Aleut:
The Alaskan Eskimo people live predominantly along the extremely cold costal areas of the main body of Alaska, and are part of a large ethnic group that stretches across Greenland, Northern Canada, Alaska and Siberia. Alaskan and Siberian Eskimos speak various dialects of the Yupik or Inupiat languages, and so are called Yupik (Southwest and central coastal) or Inupiat (Northern coastal) to distinguish them from the Inuit speakers of Canada and Greenland. Aleuts are the inhabitants of the Aleutian chain of islands in Southwestern Alaska who live in a warmer, wet climate with no trees and no land animals.
In pre-contact times, Aleuts believed that sea-mammals (particularly otters who were thought to be transformed humans) were attracted to human finery. So hunters wore elegant and elaborate clothing with talismans and decorations while out in their boats. Aleut parkas were often made of the skins of seabirds like puffins and cormorants, and light waterproof parkas were made of sewn strips of gut skin (walrus or seal intestine).
Yupik in pre-contact times also made waterproof parkas of gut skin (on the coast) and fish skin (inland), as well as some bird skin parkas. However, it is with fur that Yupik seamstresses even now seem to do their most interesting work. In pre-contact times animal skin garments were thought to impart to the wearers the characteristics of the original animals, and garments were often constructed using skin parts comparable to human parts of the body: legs for arms and legs, backs for backs, etc. and many parkas had u-shaped "tail" flaps. Contrasting colors of skins were used in a kind of patchwork style to make decorative effects along joint marks which were thought to be the location of souls.
This tradition has continued on modern parkas but is now often done with black and white pieces of clipped cowhide imported to the North for the purpose. Yupik clothing has also adopted a number of Western features during the 20th Century: Parkas have changed from a pullover design to one with a front zippered closing, Women's parkas have dropped the front and back u-shaped flap in favor of a short ruffled skirt attached to the bottom, fur lined parkas now are covered with a cloth shell (usually a bright flowered print or cotton velvet), and a cloth version of the old pullover parka (with a two handed pocket), the Kuspuk (also spelled Quaspeq), has become the accepted dress for traditional dancing.
The cloth parka is the most commonly worn piece of traditional Alaskan dress, worn not only by many Yupik, but by other Alaska Natives and Anglos as both a practical method for staying warm, and an expression of local pride in it's unique amalgamation of Native and Western design.
Inuit (Eskimo) and Aleut Clothing: Bibliography by September Laakso
Black, Lydia T. Aleut Art. Anchorage: Aleutian/Pribiloff Island Association, 1982.
Burch, Ernest S. Jr. and Werner Forman. The Eskimos. Tulsa: University of Oklahoma, 1988.
Collins, Henry B. "Composite Masks: Chinese and Eskimo." Anthropologica 13.1-2 (1971): 271-278.
Fienup-Riordan, Ann. "The Mask: The Eye of the Dance." Arctic Anthropology 24.12 (1987): 40-55.
*Fitzhugh, William W. and Susan A. Kaplan. Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimos. Washington: Smithsonian, 1982. Editor's note: Detailed and fascinating book on the spiritual basis for Yupik culture and design, illustrated in black and white with many historic photos and museum artifacts.
Harrington, Richard. The Inuit: Life As It Was. Edmonton: Hurtig, 1981.
Hatt, Gudmund. "Arctic Skin Clothing in Eurasia and America: An Ethnographic Study". Arctic Anthropology 5.2 (1969): 1-132. [Translated from J.H. Schultz, Forlgasboghandel Graebes Bogtrykkeri, 1914.]
*Hickman, Pat. Inner Skins and Outer Skins: Gut and Fishskin. San Francisco: San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum, 1987.
Issenman, Betty and Catherine Rankin. Ivalu: Traditions of Inuit Clothing. Montreal: McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1988.
Jones, Suzi. Eskimo Dolls. Juneau?: Alaska State Council on the Arts, 1982.
Joppien, Rudiger and Bernard Smith. The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages, Vol. III. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.
Kaeppler, Adrienne Lois. "Artificial Curiosities": Being an Exposition of Native Manufactures Collected on the Three Pacific Voyages of Captain James Cook. Honolulu: Bishop Museum, 1978.
Larsen, Dinah W. Eskimo Dolls in the Collection of the University of Alaska Museum. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Museum, 1973.
Myers, Mary Belle. Things Made by Inuit. Quebec: Federation Des Cooperatives du Nouvean-Quebec, 1980.
Ray, Dorothy. Aleut and Eskimo Art: Tradition and Innovation in South Alaska. London: C. Hurst, 1981.
Ray, Dorothy Jean and Alfred A. Blaker. Eskimo Masks: Art and Ceremony. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1967.
Ritchie, Carson, I.A. Art of Eskimo. South Brunswick: Barnes, 1979.
Van Stone, J.W. "Protective Hide Body Armor of the Historic Chukchi and Siberian Eskimos." Etudes/Inuit/Studies 7 (1983): 3-24.
Winnipeg Art Gallery. The Inuit Amautik: I Like My Hood to be Full. Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1980. | align="left" valign="top" |Google |- | align="left" valign="top" |
Alaskan Traditional Dress Resources
Polar Regions Traditional Dress Links
Tuma Theatre Photos (many pages of photos)
Athabaskan Traditional Dress and Beadwork in the UAF Museum
Eskimo Traditional Dress, Jewelry and Dolls in the UAF Museum
Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center, Haines: Traditional Dress and Beadwork Photos
Three images from the Native Arts Festival at UAF in 1989.
Traditional Dress and Beadwork at the Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka.
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