Arts and Crafts

Income from the sale of arts and crafts is important to many families in the region. Products range from ivory, bone, and baleen carvings to sealskin and fur parkas and mukluks. Several Native-owned cooperatives are located in the area, and arts and crafts shops operate in Nome and Kotzebue. Some craftsmen deal directly with customers through home businesses. Several small manufacturing operations in Nome produce fur products and ivory carvings for sale around the state.

National Park Service

Bureau of Land Management

Henry S. Kaiser, Bureau of Indian Affairs


[ insert photo of King Island Dancers, p. 203 ]


Ray Dane, Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management  

Reindeer herding has contributed to the economic and subsistence base of the region. A recent study prepared for the Northwest Alaska Native Association states:

In summary, further developments of the reindeer industry will depend on three basic factors. First, there will have to be recognition by all concerned that reindeer are an exportable, rather than semi-subsistence, resource. Second, that resource will have to be managed in a business-like manner for profit; this will entail payment of higher wages to get and keep satisfactory herders. Third, there will have to be capital investment in equipment to manage the individual herds and in transportation and slaughter facilities. The first two factors, it is generally felt, will be the most crucial and the most difficult to achieve. (Dickson-Oswald-Walch-Lee 1975)


Top: Eskimo women skinning fawns at Golovin corral in 1938 during the height of the reindeer industry in northwest Alaska.

Above: Earmarking and castrating reindeer at Golovin, 1938.

Left: Ruth Kakaruk shows reindeer products harvested from the family herd.



[Photos: Alaska Regional Profiles, Northwest Region, pp. 202-204]

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