Life From the Sea
Rhythms of Life
From the beginning, the land was generous, offering stone tools, grass for baskets, and plants for medicines and vegetables. But the sea offered the richest resources: birds, fish, and marine mammals. The Unangan built their villages where there was shelter, fresh water, a salmon stream, and a view of the sea. Their days were marked by the rhythms of the sea and the rising and setting of the sun.
The Sea Lion Cycle
In an Unangax̂ village, the center of life was the iqyax̂, or skin boat. Hunters maneuvered these boats skillfully in the Bering Sea, hunting whales, seals, sea lions, and sea otters.
When hunting sea otters, the hunter followed the animal and watched where it dived. When it surfaced for air, the hunter threw his spear close to the otter, forcing it to dive again before it could take a deep breath. This was repeated until the exhausted animal surfaced long enough to be clubbed.
One weapon used widely in day to day hunting was the spear and its catapult called a "throwing stick." This had its own place on the baidarka (kayak), always within easy reach of its owner. The owner was the only person that could use it with any accuracy as it was made from his measurements alone.
The redesign of the Museum Permanent Galleries was made possible through generous funding from:
The City of Unalaska
Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Aleut Corporation
Aleutian/Pribiloff Islands Community Development Association
Aleutian/Pribiloff Islands Restitution Trust