Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Snow Blindness

          If you have ever wondered why people had to wear snow goggles the answer can be found in these two words - SNOW BLINDNESS. Becoming snow blind is one of the last things a person would ever want. In a popularity contest becoming snow blind would come in second to last, second only to death. Here's what an Alaskan Native Elder has to say upon the subject....

 "I got snow blind once, and I had to stay in the house for three days. If you get snow blindness, you’re worthless. It’s painful. Achapak used to use those too."

Though his words are few, they bare a measure of pain that leaves nightmares (im exaggerating), but in some cases it did leave the person with permanent blindness. Becoming blind in the arctic, is a sure death sentence, without sight theirs no hunting, without hunting you become a burden for your family because you cannot carry your weight. If you cannot carry your weight you become dead weight, and if you live in the arctic, that's a very bad situation for you and the people that care about you. In short your almost bound to die young if you end up permanently blind. Giving anybody the perfect excuse as to why someone should wear a pair snow goggles.

(at least until tomorrow)

Smithsonian, S. (n.d.). Snow goggles. Retrieved from http://alaska.si.edu/browse.asp

The "Alaskan Native Collections" is a daughter site to the Smithsonian Institution, so it's a very credible source. This site in particular is where all of my research has stemmed off of. The information the Smithsonian Institution provides is second to none, and they give very detail accounts as to what is known about snow goggles, and the reason's why the Inupiaq people used them for over 2,000 year. On the webpage, they also have pictures of the snow goggles they currently have on display at the Anchorage Museum (which I have personally analyzed). They also carry valuable information on each specimen regarding the culture they are from, the region, the usage of the item, it's physical dimension, and even it's accession date. This website serves as a great source to get information from.

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