At a recent meeting of the New Words Council, Alutiiq Elders passed around a tray containing ancient tools. While Elders know the Alutiiq words for items like ulukaq (ulu knife), the names of more obscure traditional tools no longer have Alutiiq terms. Their titles have been lost–or nearly lost to time. With a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Service, the museum is addressing this situation. Over the summer, Elder Alutiiq speakers recalled or crafted Alutiiq words for artifacts from the Karluk One site to create a glossary for an upcoming publication. The collection in the museum’s largest, with many rare wooden objects.
Working with objects helped the Elders determine many items’ names. Museum Registrar Marnie Leist shared a fishing rig to show the intricate placement of the parts that helped fishermen pull cod and halibut from Kodiak waters - the rig spreader, the shank, the hook, and the line weight.
"Oh, I see how it works," said Elder Julie Knagin, examining the set of items designed to suspend the hook just above the ocean floor.