Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Giinaquq: Like a Face Exhibit

At the University in Anchorage, I am taking two classes that link with each other. We are learning about different cultures and heritage of our native people. We went to the Anchorage museum downtown to see the Giinaquq Exhibit. Giinaquq sort of means "like a face" but it also means the place that carved the images of people, animals, and birds in the Alutiiq society. In the winter of 1871, Alphonse Pinart went to Kodiak to learn more about the natives. He visited all the little villages around Kodiak, getting around with a kayak. On his journey, he collected 70 masks. He knew they were important and had a lot of value in the native culture. They represent the spirit world, and are used to communicate in dances. He put them in a French Museum; it is the largest set of Alutiiq masks. They have survived two world wars. The masks are amazing, and they have interesting faces and meanings. They are back in Alaska for a limited amount of time in the Anchorage museum until January 2009.

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