Indigenous Watercraft Educational and Research Project

Grantee: University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum of the North, Story by Eduard Zdor

I was fortunate to be involved in the Indigenous Watercraft educational and research project University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum of the North (UAMN). This project aimed to uncover modern knowledge of the Alaska Native watercraft through the following:

  • Development of a Project database: I completed research on videos, oral sources and photo archives
  • Watercraft research at UAMN: I created an ethnographic questionnaire on Indigenous watercraft. We conducted two interviews with the TEK keeper based on the museum collection and the interviewee’s knowledge. The interviews were videotaped and time stamped.

Thanks to the head of the laboratory and my colleagues, I was able to get useful training in working with the museum catalog. I gained skills in database, tagging, packaging, and photography. An important part of my job was to work in collections, to find items and arrange them.

While working on the Chukotka collection of UAMN, I conducted an ethnographic study of the item “Handle, bone.” The purpose of the study was to find out whether common ground between ancient tools and modern traditional nature management. In collaboration with Angela Linn, Head of the Ethnology and History Laboratory, I wrote the research paper “Handle, bone. UA2002-023-0008.”

Overall, I enjoyed working in the lab because of the creative and friendly spirit created by the head of the lab, while my work was supported by the other student co-workers.

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