Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ug^ada-x^, the Aleut Kayaker's Sea Bag in Unangam Tunuu

I decided to fight my way through Knut Bergsland's Aleut Kayak Terminology a piece at a time. Rather than starting at the beginning with the kayak itself, I have decided to start near the end, not with the kayak itself but with the sea bag or ditty bag, ug^ada-x^ that an Aleut kayaker would carry with him inside his kayak. The ug^ada-x^ contained a bunch of small items that the kayaker would need to repair his kayak or clothing and also some items he would need to start a fire on shore.
The terms listed here come from page 154 of Contributions to Kayak Studies.
For background on Bergsland see an earlier post of mine on this blog.

Bergsland's notes on the kayak terms is here in this picture. Click to enlarge.
This is Bergsland's explanation of where his information came from. The key information here is the explanation of the abbreviations EA, AA, and Au for the principal Aleut dialects.

This is the snippet of Aleut Kayak Terms that deals with the ditty bag.

My illustrated version of Bergsland's text.  Click on the picture for a larger view.
I should mention that in drawing up the diagram of ditty bags and ditty bag contents, I did not have any images of what these things actually looked like.  Bergsland mentions that the ditty bags were about two feet long.  That's all I had to go on.  Dry grass, yeah, we know what that looks like, but whether it was just in a lump or if people twisted it up, I don't know.  Likewise, I don't know what Aleut fire drills looked like.  They could be the type I showed which is a pump drill.  But there are other types of fire drills.  I drew a pump drill because Mike Livingston had students make these at Aleut Culture camps.  Same goes for amulets and charms.  They could be just about anything from a pebble to elaborately carved ivory.  As for caul of baby, look that up.
And part 2 of ditty bag contents.

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