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Short Lessons

AlutiiqTraditionsCoverWe've turned our visitors' most frequently asked questions about the Alutiiq world into a set of short cultural lessons. You can download individual lessons here for free or purchase the set as a paperback book–Alutiiq Traditions–from the Museum Store. Updated in 2015, this third edition of our popular paperback features new lessons on men's and women's work, the Alutiiq calendar, warfare, and more.

Have a question that is not covered here? Take a trip to the library and liici cali—learn more—with this list of references. You can also email one of our helpful anthropologists.

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(click to download)
 Alutiiq / Sugpiaq Nation  Kayak  Bending Traditions
 Who are the Alutiiq People?   Hunting Hats  Weaving Traditions
 Let's All Study Alutiiq  Petroglyphs  Sewing Traditions
 Kodiak Archaeology  Whaling Traditions  Clothing
 Alutiiq Ancestors  Hunting Traditions  Headdress
 Our Alutiiq Universe  Birds as a Resource  Beads
 Kodiak Alutiiq Values  Birds as Helpers  Talking Rocks
 Stereotypes  River Otter & Sea Otter  Societies
 Refuge Rock  The Great Bear  Marriage Traditions
 Calendar  Reindeer Herders  Two-Spirits
 An Alutiiq Year  Fishing Traditions  Men's Ways
 Kodiak Environment  Let's Make Ground Slate Tools   Women's Way
 Natural Disasters  Ulu  Gaming Traditions
 Kodiak Island Map  Plants in Alutiiq Society  Warfare
 Our Villages  Plants as Food  Drum
 Sod House  Alutiiq Colors  Songs
 Oil Lamp  Graphic Arts  Stories
 Open Skin Boat  Carving Traditions  Masks

Virtual Tour

Our digital walk through the Alutiiq Museum features interactive, high-resolution photos of our galleries. Visit here or download the free RoundMe app to investigate from your smart phone. The tour provides a 365-degree view of displays. Click on interactive buttons and learn more about items or access photos, videos, and descriptions. There are even Alutiiq words and phases that will play automatically as your explore! 

Produce with generous support from the Kodiak Community Foundation and the Alaska State Museum. Panoramic photographs by Alf Pryor.


Education Boxes

Bring Alutiiq culture to your classroom by checking out one of our Education Boxes.  Each comes complete with a lesson plan and materials designed to explore Alutiiq heritage.


Informative videos covering a variety of topics, including our annual Fall Lecture series are available online.

Alutiiq Cultural Education Handbook

This 68-page booklet combines cultural information, reference materials, lesson plans, and guidance on best practices. Assembled with support from The CIRI Foundation. Download a Free Copy.

Alutiiq Education Website

The Alutiiq Education Website is a clearning house of  materials designed for educators, families, and students of all ages to gain access to information and learning


Animal Masks
Paper Ceremonial Masks
Animal Ornaments
Hunting Hat Ornaments

Alutiiq Language Website

Visit for many helpful resources on sharing the alutiiq language.



This Alutiiq Museum produced this series of one page lessons to answer some of the most common questions asked by our visitors.  Download lesson copies here or purchase Alutiiq Traditions, a paperback booklet of all the lessson through our Museum Store.

History Subsistence Community Festival Art
Archaeology Environment Alutiiq Nation Alutiiq Universe Colors
Ancient Cultures Alutiiq Year Alutiiq People Drums Bending Wood
Petroglyphs Bears Villages Masks Carving
Natural Disasters Birds Houses Lamp Graphic Arts
Conquest Fishing Marriage Songs Sewing
Map Otters Social Classes Stories Weaving
Stereotypes Plants Two-Spirits Games Slate Grinding
  Reindeer Herders Warfare Clothing Talking Rocks
  Whaling Language Headdress Ulus
  Kayaks Values Beads  
  Open Boats Men's Ways    
  Hunting Hat Women's Ways    


Fall Lecture Series 2016

From harvesting marine mammals and driftwood, to kayak building and waterproof stitching, our fall lecture series featured life at sea. Videos produced with support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Kodiak Public Library.

Hunting at Sea

Lecture by Patrick Saltonstall, Alutiiq Museum archaeologist.


Angyaq Building

Lecture by Sven Haakanson, Burke Museum curator.


Kayak Covers

Lecture by Susan Malutin, Master Skin Sewer.


Learning about Open Boats

Lecture by CJ Christensen, Alutiiq Artist


Cold Water

Lecture by O'Brien Starr-Hollow, US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer


The Alutiiq / Sugpiaq People

AlutiiqNationThe Alutiiq / Sugpiaq people are one of eight Alaska Native peoples. They have inhabited the coastal environments of south central Alaska for over 7,500 years. Their traditional homelands include Prince William Sound, the outer Kenai Peninsula, the Kodiak Archipelago, and the Alaska Peninsula. Here people lived in coastal communities and hunted sea mammals from skincovered boats.

Alutiiq people share many cultural practices with the other coastal peoples, particularly the Unangan / Aleut of the Aleutian Chain and the Yup’ik of the Bering Sea coast. Anthropologists believe these cultural similarities reflect a distant but common ancestry.

At the time of European colonization, there were distinct regional groups of Alutiiq / Sugpiaq people, each speaking a slightly different dialect of the Alutiiq language.

Kinkut Alutiit? - Who are the Alutiiq?

In the historic era, Russian traders called all of the Native peoples of southwestern Alaska “Aleut”—despite regional differences in language, cultural practices, and history. In the modern era, this has caused confusion. People with distinct cultures are known by the same name. Today, Kodiak’s Native people use a variety of self-designators. There is no one correct term. Many Elders prefer Aleut, a term they were taught as children. Today, others choose Alutiiq or Sugpiaq. What does each of these terms mean?

Sugpiaq – This is a traditional self-designator of the Native people of Prince William Sound, the outer Kenai Peninsula, the Kodiak Archipelago, and the Alaska Peninsula. It means “real person” and it is the way Native people described themselves prior to Western contact. This term is used by some today. Sugpiaq is a popular self-designator on the Kenai Peninsula, and is gaining use on Kodiak.

Aleut – This word means “coastal dweller” and it is derived from a Siberian Native language. Russian traders introduced the term, using it to describe the Native people they encountered in the Aleutian Islands, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Kodiak Archipelago. Aleut is still frequently used to refer to the Native people of the Aleutian Islands, although the word Unangan—meaning “we the people” in the region’s traditional language—is gaining popularity.

Alutiiq – “Alutiiq” is the way Sugpiaq people say Aleut. It is the Native way of pronouncing the Russian-introduced word “Aleut” in their own language. Alutiiq is a popular selfdesignator in Kodiak, and reflects the region’s complex Russian and Native history. People used this term occasionally in the Russian era. It gained popularity starting in the 1980s.

Alutiiq or Alutiit?

ALUTIIQ (singular)
Noun: to describe one person: I am an Alutiiq.
Noun: to describe the language: They are speaking Alutiiq.
Adjective: as a modifier: There are many Alutiiq artists.

ALUTIIT (plural)
Noun: to describe more than two: There are 40 Alutiit living in Karluk.
Noun: to describe the people or culture collectively: The ancestors of the Alutiit settled Kodiak Island.

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