Sugpiaq Catalog Workshop

As part of the Lower Kenai Peninsula Material Culture and Heritage Preservation project, generously funded by Museums Alaska, we had a busy few days at the Pratt Museum. We had Alma Moonin from Nanwalek completing training on general museum collection care. Alma worked with the Pratt Museum’s Collections Manager, Savanna Bradley, on learning about developing a mission for the Nanwalek Museum, accessioning, caring for collection pieces, and strategizing on securing funding.

Alma Moonin and Savanna Bradley

Alma Moonin and Savanna Bradley

For the following day, we had a full-day workshop planned. Unfortunately, our plans to fly participants over from Port Graham and Nanwalek were foiled by the raging fires and smoke. As all planes were stranded for the larger part of the day, our original participants, Christalina Jager and Mary Malchoff from Port Graham, as well as Kathy Brewster, Emilie Swenning, and Rhoda Moonin from Nanwalek were unable to attend. I would like to thank them for their time in preparing for the workshop, for generously agreeing to attend, and for tirelessly working with us setting up the event. Quyana! I hope we will have the chance to host them at the Pratt Museum as part of a future project.

Ephim and Alma Moonin, who were already over on the Homer side, were fantastic in helping us contact additional participants. Herman Moonin graciously agreed to join us to represent Port Graham, while Kathy Evans and Vladimir Moonin also made time to participate in the workshop. Thank you all for coming over to the Pratt Museum on such a short notice, sharing your insights and knowledge, telling stories, and reflecting on the collection pieces – Quyanaakcak!

Sugpiaq Workshop May 20th, 2014 – From left to right: David DeHass, Ephim Moonin, Ryjil Christianson, Medeia Csoba DeHass, Alma Moonin, Herman Moonin

Sugpiaq Workshop May 20th, 2014 – From left to right: David DeHass, Ephim Moonin, Ryjil Christianson, Medeia Csoba DeHass, Alma Moonin, Herman Moonin

We looked at a selection of artifacts that ranged between 3000-100 years in age originating from the larger Sugpiaq area. Some of the pieces were from Kodiak Island, while others were excavated on Yukon Island, at China Poot Bay, and on other locations around Kachemak Bay. We looked at barbed and toggle points, a slate ulu, labrets, the Russian Medallion I previously posted a photo of, trade beads, china fragments, a U.S. military hat pin from the 1850s, various charms carved out of ivory, and the recently discovered Orthodox Cross from Yukon Island.

Herman examining a barbed ivory point.

Herman examining a barbed ivory point.

 

Kathy identifying Vincent Kvasnikoff and one of the teachers in Nanwalek.

Kathy identifying Vincent Kvasnikoff and one of the teachers in Nanwalek.

 

Vladimir looking at one of the historical photographs.

Vladimir looking at one of the historical photographs.

 

Ephim studies a slate point while Alma discusses archaeological excavations in the region.

Ephim studies a slate point while Alma discusses archaeological excavations in the region.

We also looked at a great selection of historical photographs depicting life in the lower Kenai Peninsula Sugpiaq region in the past hundred years.

Ephim and Herman identifying one of the photos from the Smith Family collection depicting the Chief’s house in Port Graham in the 1930s.

Ephim and Herman identifying one of the photos from the Smith Family collection depicting the Chief’s house in Port Graham in the 1930s.

I would like to thank Savanna Bradley for her dedication in setting up and overseeing the collection pieces for the workshop as well as Ryjil Christianson, the Director of Education at the Pratt Museum, for all her hard work in recording the entire event and producing excellent video footage. We will send copies of the event to both communities for local use as well as provide all participants with personal copies.

Sugpiaq Workshop May 20th, 2014

Sugpiaq Workshop May 20th, 2014

The final event of this project is to take photos of selected collection pieces. Port Graham photographer, Daryl Kreun, will be working with us all weekend (May 25th and 26th) to document the collection. If you are in town, please feel free to stop by!

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