Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why Aleuts don't build kayaks any more

Aleuts build kayaks up to about WWII and maybe a little after.  Today, the practice of building kayaks in the Aleutians has stopped.  There are many reasons why the building has stopped, but the primary one no doubt is economics - the kayak has become economically irrelevant in the lives of the Aleuts.  Other kinds of boats have replaced the kayak.  This becomes apparent when one spends any amount of time in an Aleut village like Sand Point.  The major activity nowadays is fishing and to make money at fishing in today's world one needs a commercial fishing boat, not a kayak. See evidence below.

There is also the fact that if you spend a good deal of time out on the water in your fishing boat, you are not likely to want to go out in a kayak in your spare time. But if you are working in Anchorage at a desk job, then maybe going out in a kayak on weekends might seem more attractive. 

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