Angyaaq Model

Angyaaq Model

Angyaaq Model, 2021
Teacon Simeonoff (b. 1974), Sugpiaq, Akhiok, Alaska
Driftwood partially wrapped with bear intestine from Sven Haakanson (b. 1967), Sugpiaq, Old Harbor, Alaska, 6 3/4 × 10 3/8 × 45 1/8 in. (17.2 × 26.4 × 114.6 cm)
Courtesy Teacon Simeonoff, Sugpiaq, Akhiok, Alaska

Large angyaat (open boats) were used for millennia by Sugpiat people from Kodiak Island and the surrounding regions in Alaska. However, the knowledge of constructing and using angyaat disappeared for more than a century due to the willful destruction of these vessels by Russian traders in the early nineteenth century. Knowledge of angyaat only survived in the form of written descriptions and fifteen known models dispersed among museum collections around the world. By studying these traces, Sven Haakanson, a member of the Alutiiq Tribe of Old Harbor and curator of North American anthropology at the Burke Museum in Seattle, reverse-engineered the models to construct a full-sized angyaaq in Akhiok in 2015–16. Together with Sugpiat community members and museum conservators, Haakanson helped lead the revival of angyaat construction and use on Kodiak Island. As seen in the accompanying video, such conservation of both material items and knowledge applies the preservation of the past to the perpetuation of Indigenous cultural knowledge and life in the future.

Angyaaq Model, 2021

View slideshow (additional views)

  • Aguahoja II Studies, 2019
  • Sites at Risk, 2022 Video
  • Angyaaq Model, 2021
  • Shaman’s Coat, ca. 19th century
  • Sword, late 19th century
  • Paikea, ca. 1890s
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