A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership
2022 Graduate ARTShop Golga Oscar
Yupik Parka Marking

The ARTShops program is a collaboration between the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation and The CIRI Foundation’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Arts and Culture grant program. Established in 2016, ARTShops support emerging Alaska Native arts leaders to develop their skills in leading community-based arts programs.

parka making

During my ARTShop project, I proposed sharing traditional methods of Yup’ik parka making with my students.  These experiences with my students were phenomenal. The Indigenous methodologies we shared were the past stories about our grandparents, which were told by their parents. This encouraged most of my students to explore their identity. Another methodology we used was sharing traditional stories that have been shared by Calista Corporation. These stories focused on the first Yupiit that encountered Ircinraat (Little people) and other extraordinary superstition events. 

Within the making progress, we made our own parka pattern by measuring my commercial coat. My students began comprehending the use of traditional measuring by the palm of their hand, hand, arm, and chest.  The students were also encouraged to use the traditional measuring method when there is no ruler/measuring tape on hand. During the session, I spoke about how traditional songs can enhance focus and meditation.

Overall, the class was a success. We understood how cultural art can save lives, and how it can be promoted in a Western space. As an Indigenous instructor, it is important to create a safe environment for students who are reclaiming what was once not taught throughout their lifetime.