top of page
  • Coleen Graybill


BOYS IN KAIAK, Nunivak, 1927 by Edward Curtis. In Volume 20, pages 11-13 of The North American Indian, Plate 690: "The kaiak (kaíyuh) is the most important craft of many of the Alaskan Eskimo, for by means of it the livelihood of the people is chiefly obtained. Men transport themselves from one hunting camp to another in the kaiak; from it they fish, spear waterfowl, and pursue seal and walrus. Almost as soon as a boy can walk, he learns to paddle and maneuvers this small but efficient craft.

New kaiaks are made in late winter or in early spring during the season of Qígītánīt ("Mother of Rivers" -when rivers begin to open up). Their construction takes place with ceremony in the men's house, usually under the supervision of some old man well skilled in boat-making. The men measure and cut each individual part of the wooden frame according to a prescribed system based on the length of various members of the body or a combination of such members. Thus each man's kaiak is built according to the specifications of his own body and hence is peculiarly fitted to his use."


Do you like reading stories like this? If so,please support our work. As a nonprofit organization, we depend on donations from readers like you.

125 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page