The Inupiaq parka and associated activities constitute an unbroken practice from the prehistoric to modern times. The overall form and use of the garment remains constant while materials and technology evolve. Inupiaq parkas, often categorized as art because of their craft, creativity, and aesthetic appeal, also serve as tangible reminders of cultural abstractions. When considered within the age-old Inupiaq subsistence system, the position of women and the role of parka sewing suggests that both are critical to the maintenance of the human/animal relationship central to Inupiaq culture. The Inupiaq parka is seen to mediate between the physical and spiritual relationship of humans and animals and, in contemporary times, to make tangible the dialectic between tradition and modernity that defines Inupiaq identity today.
Thesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2001
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