"Everyday garment worn by Ugashagmjut [Ugaasarmiut, the
Alutiiq people of Ugashik]"
CATALOG NO: 90469
OBJECT TYPE: manís ground squirrel parka
Loose-fitting, as compared to the more tailored parkas of northern Alaska, generally without hoods and reaching almost to the feet, Alutiiq parkas were made from a wide assortment of furs. This man's ground squirrel parka from the Alaska Peninsula includes ermine, sea otter, mink and caribou trimming. The diverse array of furs may have held symbolic as well as aesthetic meaning, investing the wearer with the essential qualities of the animals represented.
Red-painted skin fringe, strips of sea otter fur, and paired cloth-and-ermine tassels add to the beauty and movement of this parka. The cloth-and-ermine tassels provide a nice example of how Alutiiq seamstresses incorporated new materials to execute traditional designs. Earlier versions utilized dyed gut or skin rather than trade cloth. Characteristic of Alutiiq clothing, this kind of tassel was illustrated as early as 1827 and is seen on the beautiful cormorant parkas worn by the Kodiak Alutiit in the 1840ís. Other design features of the parka reflect the influences of Alaska Native Yupíik and European traditions.
The finest parkas were worn by both men and women during the winter ceremonies and presented by the host as gifts to his honored guests.