Sewing the Seal Skin Boat

Sewing the Seal Skin Boat 1st set - February - 2007

These photos were taken on Saturday, Feb 10 at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska.

Agvitchiaq Whaling Crew Captain Gilbert Leavitt


Priscilla Sage: Priscilla Sage sews waterproof stitches on the bearded seal skins. The Agvitchiaq Whaling Crew is preparing for the spring whaling season in Barrow. The "thread" being used is made of braided caribou sinew. After the sewing is complete, the skins will be attached to the wooden boat frame and set outside to dry. Spring whaling usually starts in early May, but crews prepare months in advance.


Priscilla Sage 2: Same description as above plus: Priscilla enjoys sewing on the seal skin boats and also teaches others the tradional sewing techniques.

(that's my mom in law)

Photo credit: Mary Anniagruk Sage


Sewing the Seal Skin Boat 2nd set - February - 2007

Photos taken Saturday, Feb 10th at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska.


Waterproof stitches: Priscilla Sage sews waterproof stitches on the bearded seal skin.


Umiaq Frame: This wooden boat frame, made by the members of the Agvitchiaq Whaling Crew, will soon be covered with the bearded seal skins sewn together.


Umiaq Frame 2: Same description.

Photo credit: Mary Anniagruk Sage


Sewing the Seal Skin Boat 3rd set *munchies* - February - 2007

Photos taken Saturday, Feb 10th at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska.


Isabel Kanayurak: Skin boat seamstress Isabel Kanayurak is the first to finish sewing on the seal skins for the Agvitchiaq Whaling Crew. She enjoys some of the fermented seal flipper, a local favored delicacy.

Photo credit: Mary Anniagruk Sage


Sewing the Seal Skin Boat, 4th and last set - February - 2007

Photos taken Saturday, Feb 10th at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska.

Main description for both photos: The ladies sew waterproof stitches on one side, turn the skin over and sew on the other side also. These ladies will sew for other whaling crews during February. Completing one skin boat takes all day long, and if there are any corrections or repairs needed, the ladies will stay late into the hours of the night until the work is completed.


Doreen, Esther, Diane, Mary and Isabel: L-r: Skin boat seamstresses Doreen Ahgeak, Esther Ungarook Sr., Diane Martin, Mary Ahkiviana and Isabel Kanayurak sew on the bearded seal skin boat for the Agvitchiaq Whaling Crew.


Pris, Fredricka, Roberta and Emma: L-r: Priscilla Sage, Fredricka Leavitt, Roberta Leavitt and Emma Neakok work together to sew the bearded seal skins for the Agvitchiaq Whaling Crew.

Photo credit: Mary Anniagruk Sage