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Lydia Apatiki

These units are based on the work of Lydia Apatiki. She was born and raised in Gambell, Alaska, on St. Lawrence Island. She is the youngest adopted daughter of Thomas and Pauline Apassingok. She married her wonderful husband, Jerome Nataay Apatiki, in 1969 and they raised three boys, three girls, and two precious grandsons, Marlott and Joshua Apatiki, as their own. They have nineteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

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What's Included?

The SIVUQAM KELUGWI Curriculum includes detailed instructions, videos, and interactive PowerPoints for the following traditional sewing projects:

Bird Skin Parka

On St. Lawrence Island, in the villages of Gambell and Savoonga, women made light, warm bird skin parkas. Some were reversible. The sewer chose the designs for her hunter’s parka. A hunter on the ice hauling in a seal on a baleen sled can perspire. If the inside of his bird skin parka gets wet, he can turn it inside out and it freeze dries, while he still has a warm, dry parka against his skin.

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Game Ball

The traditional St. Lawrence Island Yupik ball was decorated with white bleached seal skin and red-dyed seal skin leather. Long ago, women used reindeer hair or other stuffing to make a very tight traditional ball. Some women put several stones inside a ball to add weight and create a rattle when the ball is moved.

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Cloth Doll

There are two different types of traditional dolls made on St. Lawrence Island: those made to sell (specifically to collectors), and those made for children to play with. The dolls in this curriculum are modeled after children's traditional clothing on St. Lawrence Island, which were generally made from reindeer fawn skin.

Preview curriculum and patterns

Lydia Apatiki Sewing

The creation of this curriculum was supported by Kawerak, Inc., First Peoples Fund, CIRI Foundation, Bering Sea Lions Club, Partnow Consulting, and Gales Communications and Design. We are thankful to those who assisted in the coordination and development of the curriculum: Alice Bioff, Patricia Partnow, George Stransky, Carol Gales, Lisa Ellanna, Colleen Reynolds, Tanya Wongittilin, Vera Metcalf, B. Yaayuk Alvanna Stimpfle, Dianne (Igluquq) Okleasik, Donna James, and Patti Lillie. We are also very grateful for the approval and support from the Native Community of Gambell.