It has been a pleasure, researching and finding out new and wonderful things about snow goggles and the impact they have made not only in Inupiaq culture, but around the world. The purpose of this blog was to share that knowledge, and acknowledge their cultural importance. Though they are small in stature, the story of snow goggles means a heap of value towards the Inupiaq ancient traditions, which have helped the Inupiaq people thrive in one of the world's harshest climates since time immemorable.
The purpose of this post "Recap" is to serve as a run-over regarding the material I have previously shared on this journey, with my internet audience thus far...
Previously I've posted about the crucial significance that good eyesight and visual memory is to the Inupiaq people, as individuals and as a people. Eyesight is very important in Inupiaq culture because, the far north's terrain consists of tundra and sea ice. Often times hunters had to rely on the ability to memorize a landscape by relying on slight visual cues. Life was seemingly dependent on the ability to see, and when sight was threatened (snow blindness) so was there livelihood. Thus the invention of snow goggles(nearly two thousand years ago by the Thule Inupiaqs) revolutionized Inupiaq lifestyle.
After snow goggles were first introduced to the world as an instrument for hunting it was soon drafted into Inupiaq village life. During this period of time, the production of snow goggles began to resemble that of artwork, because of the engraved fine carvings complimented by their great sense of individuality embedded within each pair.
As an after effect of colonialism the traditional way of making snow goggles is no longer done to the extent that they once were, people still make them but not as often. More likely than not, most people buy pairs of company manufactured snow goggles from local convenient stores. This trend is very common regarding indigenous peoples around the world; the slow drift from ancient tradition to modern lifestyles. By spreading the cultural knowledge of snow goggles, I hope that snow goggles will not end up like so many things the past has taught us... forgotten.
I was reading a study online entitled "Visual Memory in Village Eskimo and Urban Caucasian Children", in this article the author Judith Kleinfeld concludes that village Inupiaq children demonstrated significantly higher levels of visual memory (their levels of visual memory increases with age as well) than urban Caucasian children. The visual memory differences are a proven scientific fact, and in this article Judith Kleinfeld delves into cultural/ecological explanations as to why.
Her hypothesis is based on these findings...
Requirements of Arctic and Urban Ecology
The flat tundra/ and or sea ice provide few distinctive visual markers for hunters to rely on
Inupiat's had to rely on small visual cues
Traveling through featureless terrain
They had to develop small landmarks and their locations
The Inupiaq language may increase the speakers' awareness for visual concepts
They live in a hunting culture
The thesis and her findings are extremely well done, I advise anyone who wishes to further understand the importance of eyesight in Inupiat culture to check out her site.
Over time Yukutkaak (snow goggles) weren't just used for hunting purposes, their usage began to extend, and became commonplace in the living quarters as well. As snow goggles were being adapted into the village culture, more emphasis were placed on their physical appearance, as people began to pour out their creativity, and imagination, into making their own pair of snow goggles, and thus Yukutkaak developed not only as a fashion but as an art form as well. As mentioned in an earlier post I analyzed about six pairs of snow goggles at the Anchorage Museum originating from the Norton Sea area. I noticed that no two were exactly alike. One pair would resemble an owl, another looked like a hollowed out box, and some resembled the "perfect" pair I've previously discussed. All of them were different from one another, they may have carried certain similarities such as thin slits for their eyes to peer out of, but even that "similarity" wasn't on all of the goggles. What I found very intriguing was that one of the informative descriptions supplied by the museum mentioned that, "the goggles were just as individual as the people that made them." Snow goggles were no longer just tools, used for survival, but they also held a very strong role in Inupiat culture as well, as an art form, for individual expression.
References Josey, J. (2010). Becoming art. Snow goggles (pp. 3).
The author lives in the state of Alaska, and as a student of the local university he has been given the opportunity to learn about things the typical textbook is not able to teach. Though he attends college, Josey considers himself as a student of life, and it is the examples given to him in life that he tries so passionately, to learn and to apply. The excerpted piece of literature above comes from his personal collection of writings, regarding some of his more personal thoughts and ideas. Originally this piece was a part of a larger compilation of writings entitled “Snow Goggles” which was an assignment assigned in his English class. The piece entitled “Becoming Art” really helps bring out the point Josey was trying to relate to his audience, in regards to the craftsmanship that was being applied to the goggles as they were being made.
Howcast is a corporation that specializes in making and distributing instructional content. Led by a senior management team whose members are specialists in traditional as well as new forms of media, as well as technology. Their wide spectrum of communication skills allow them to reach a broader audience, with very useful instructional content. Howcast has offices both in New York and San Francisco, for easy access for their site publishers and content providers stationed around the world. This particular video on my blog comes from Howcast’s channel on Youtube that consists of over 6,000 videos, videos consisting of instructional content. I find this video very useful and easy to understand, as well as being easy to follow. Other films on making a pair of snow goggles range from eight to fifteen minutes, so I was really happy to find that the host kept everything real simple, and made the film really short.
In this post, I will be writing on how to make a pair of snow goggles. In my opinion there are two different types of snow goggles. There are traditional snow goggles, and then there's the one's made on the fly in the wilderness, in a life threatening situation.
In this blog I will write about traditional snow goggles, and in the next blog, I will post a video on how to make them in the wilderness.
Each pair of snow goggles is made to fit whomever they were made for. Typically a fine piece of wood or ivory would be used. The piece would be wide enough to reach the wearer's temples. Then a slight curve would be applied onto the "mask" of the goggles, so they would fit around their face more comfortably. Then they would coordinate where the eyes would be at, and make slits approximately an inch and a half in length, and a few centimeters in height. Then a strap of braided sinew, or some string would be used to securely fasten it around the wearers head.
Steven Pirot, S.T. (2010, November 11). How are they made. Retrieved from http://yupiksnowgoggles.blogspot.com/
http://yupiksnowgoggles.blogspot.com/ The author Steven Pirot is a great writer, who has a blog exclusively based on Yupik Snow Goggles. In this blog he has numerous posts about various aspects of Yupik culture, and their many uses for snow goggles, and also writes about their usages pre colonialism, and post colonialism. Mr. Pirot relates the Yupik snow goggles to indigenous cultures around the world and compares them with similarities and contrasts. The author examines numerous topics of interest such as, how they are made, useful websites, the history of snow goggles in the state of Alaska, and a post in response to ancient goggles evolutionary change to what they are today. The blog itself is a great source for information, on an object that can be hard to fin information on. He has poured many hours of research into his work, and many of his posts are annotated with APA reference citation, to validate credibility.
Shane Dayton, S.D. (2010). How to make eskimo snow goggles. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/how_5630415_make-eskimo- snow- goggles.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_5630415_make-eskimo-snow-goggles.html The author Shane Dayton, an author that works closely with ehow.com wrote an article entitled, "How to Make Eskimo Snow Goggles."In this article the author writes step by step instructions on how to make a standard pair of snow goggles with a simple piece of birch bark and a knife. The instructions are very easy to follow, and could come in handy in a wilderness survival situation. I used this web site, to get an idea, as to what a person should do to make a standard pair of snow goggles. Overall I consider this website very useful for my usage of it in my blog, and for wilderness survival tips. The instructions are really easy to follow, but to my dismay there isn't any visual representation to aid the written instruction, but it is still a very good website.
In the previous blog, I wrote about my personal thoughts on a pair of snow goggles I have seen at the Anchorage Museum, in which there is an excerpt of what I've thought in relation to feelings, or how I had felt about them. In this blog I will post an excerpt about their physical appearance.
"To me that one pair of snow goggles exhibited such exquisite detail; they were dressed with a fine dark brown finish, with a perfectly oval shaped bridge allowing a comfortable fit on the nose. Thin slits for the eyes, but still wide enough to allow the peripheral vision to be of use. A thin strap made of either seal skin or braided sinew kept them from falling off of the wearer's head. The most distinctive part to me was the skillfully made visor just above the slits for the eyes, built with perfect symmetry containing machine lie precision. Though very slender and delicate in appearance, they demonstrated a great sense of fashion, and simultaneously capable of heavy duty performances."
And here they are...
Josey, J. (2010). The perfect ones. Snow goggles (pp. 3).
The author lives in the state of Alaska, and as a student of the local university he has been given the opportunity to learn about things the typical textbook is not able to teach. Though he attends college, Josey considers himself as a student of life, and it is the examples given to him in life that he tries so passionately, to learn and to apply. The excerpted piece of literature above comes from his personal collection of writings, regarding some of his more personal thoughts and ideas. Originally this piece was a part of a larger compilation of writings entitled “Snow Goggles” which was an assignment assigned in his English class. The piece entitled “The Perfect Ones” really helps bring out the point Josey was trying to relate to his audience, in regards to the craftsmanship that was being applied to the goggles as they were being made.