Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Aleut Boat Builders/Elders, part trois

Here are some more Aleut/Unangan boat builder photos. The first one is from a book written by Ethel Ross Oliver. She was a school teacher in Atka and wrote a book about it called Journal of an Aleutian Year. The picture is of Andrew Snigaroff standing in front of a baidarka frame he built.

I posted this picture somewhere on my website a few years ago and sometime after got an email from the grandson of Andrew Snigaroff wondering if I knew where that kayak had ended up. I did not know. And I have since lost the email sent by the grandson. I hope to find his email address again so I can find out a little more about Andrew. Apparently he was the last or one of the last baidarka builders on Atka.

The baidarka in the Phoebie Hearst Museum in Berkeley is also from Atka and looks very similar to this one, though not exactly the same. It may or may not have been built by Andrew Snigaroff. Based on stylistic differences, I'm inclined to think that it wasn't. But I'm only guessing.

The remaining pictures are all from a book called Contributions to Kayak Studies. The article was written by Eugene Arima and John Heath. The pictures were taken in Nikolski on Umnak Island in the 1930's.

The man holding the single hatch baidarka or Iqyax^ is Artie Ermeloff.

This photo is of Afenogin Ermeloff.

And Fred Bezezkoff holding an Ulux^tax^.

Bottom view of an iqyax, person holding the boat not identified.

I dont' know if any of the men pictures built any of these boats or which ones they built, but it's safe to assume that they all knew how to build baidarkas. Hats off to them all.


Unknown said...

thought i had just posted a comment but i guess i didnt. i am andrew snigaroff's great granddaughter. I was looking for a pic of an iqyax for a paper i am writing and was suprised to see the pic i found was of him. grandma is excited too since we dont have many pics of her dad. if you want to ask anything about him she will be happy to answer what she can. thanks. Angie

Wolfgang Brinck said...

Angie, thanks for the offer of information. I usually show up in Anchorage once a year for the APIA urban Unangan culture camp. If you can email me directly at wolfgangbrinck dot com / boats I might be able to communicate a little more directly with you.

Robert Snigaroff said...

Hi Wolfgang Brinck:
We traded emails years ago when I saw your entry featuring Andrew Snigaroff, my Grandad. I now see your web-site mention of a baidarka in Berkeley. My daughter goes to college in that neighborhood, I'll need to stop in and see that kayak! Perhaps that is another example of Andrew Snigaroff's work. The one in the photo on your website is from a commission from a university, mother remembered it was a university in Wisconsin. I sure wish I could locate that particular craft. My mom (deceased a few years ago) told us she 'helped' build that boat. She was a toddler and Grandpa let her pound away with a little hammer. If your research ever turns that kayak up the family would be most grateful...

Robert Snigaroff