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Article

Alutiiq Fish Skin Traditions: Connecting Communities in the COVID-19 Era

1
Central Saint Martins, Fashion Department, University of the Arts, London N1C 4AA, UK
2
Alaska Native Studies Minor, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Claire Smith, Lilia Lucia Lizama, Israel Herrera and Alok Kumar Kanungo
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 4249-4263; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040234
Received: 13 September 2021 / Revised: 14 October 2021 / Accepted: 15 October 2021 / Published: 6 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heritage as a Driver of the Sustainable Development Goals)
The Alutiiq, Indigenous inhabitants of the coastal regions of Southwest Alaska, created garments made from fish skins, especially salmon, expertly sewn by women from Kodiak Island. Traditionally, Alutiiq education focused on acquiring survival skills: how to navigate the seas in all weathers, hunting, fishing and tanning animal skins. Today, many Alutiiq people continue to provide for their families through subsistence fishing, honouring the ocean and navigating difficult times by listening to their collective wisdom. This paper describes the series of fish skin tanning workshops taught by June Pardue, an Alutiiq and Inupiaq artist from Kodiak Island that connected participants in Alaska Native communities during the COVID-19 isolation months. Through an online platform, June passed on expert knowledge of the endangered Arctic fish skin craft, assisting participants in coping with the pandemic crisis by tapping into their knowledge of the natural world, cultural resourcefulness, storytelling abilities and creative skills. Brought into the digital age, the fish skin workshops strengthened connections among Alutiiq and Alaskan craftspeople while establishing new connections with an expanded network of fashion designers, museum curators, conservators and tanners. Finally, the paper highlights how fish skin Indigenous practices address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) regarding poverty, health and well-being, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, social inequality, responsible consumption and production, climate change and maritime issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: alutiiq indigenous peoples; fish skin craft; traditional knowledge; education for sustainability; United Nations sustainable development goals alutiiq indigenous peoples; fish skin craft; traditional knowledge; education for sustainability; United Nations sustainable development goals
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MDPI and ACS Style

Palomino, E.; Pardue, J. Alutiiq Fish Skin Traditions: Connecting Communities in the COVID-19 Era. Heritage 2021, 4, 4249-4263. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040234

AMA Style

Palomino E, Pardue J. Alutiiq Fish Skin Traditions: Connecting Communities in the COVID-19 Era. Heritage. 2021; 4(4):4249-4263. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040234

Chicago/Turabian Style

Palomino, Elisa, and June Pardue. 2021. "Alutiiq Fish Skin Traditions: Connecting Communities in the COVID-19 Era" Heritage 4, no. 4: 4249-4263. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040234

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