Sharing Wild Foods
A scatter of broken clamshells hints than an octopus is hiding under a nearby rock. Seal intestines should be rinsed with salt water before stuffing. Eating fatty king salmon can interfere with the effectiveness of some plant medicines. These are examples of the cultural knowledge of wild foods preserved in Alutiiq people. Through a year of monthly interviews and community events, the Alutiiq Museum worked with Kodiak's most experienced harvesters and chefs to documented the use of widely available wild foods. Then we produced a cookbook and series of short videos to share the tasty results.
Ripe salmonberries, by Priscilla Russell, Kodiak Alutiiq Plantlore project, 1991. KANA Collection.
Ptarmigan jerky. Kelp chips. Pickled Octopus. These are just a sample of the tasty recipes you will find in The Wild Foods Cookbook, a museum publication that highlights the preparation of locally harvested foods. This 68-page book explores Alutiiq cuisine from beverages and appetizers to side dishes, main courses, and deserts, illustrated with photos from the museum’s collections.
Five hundred copies of the cookbook DVD combo were printed in September 2013 and distributed for free. Contact the Alutiiq Museum Store to obtain a printedcopy, while supplies last, or download the cookbook for free at the link below.
Download the Cookbook
Click on the tabs below to browse short videos on harvesting and preparing Alutiiq foods. Videos created by the Alutiiq Museum with assistance from Alf Pryor.
Music: Umiaqartaqa - I Remember It, by April Laktonen Counceller with assistance from Nick Alokli, Theresa John Agatha, John Sheilds, and Desiree Cronnin-Tallman.
Mary Haakanson teaches visitors how to butcher a duck.
Julie Knagin, Gayla Pedersen, Judy Michener, Florence Pestrikof, Mary Haakanson, and Herman Squartsoff discuss harvesting, cleaning and eating chitons.
Iver Malutin, Nick Alokli, Sally Carlough, Florence Pestrikoff, Mary Haakanson, and Sven Haakanson, Jr. talk about duck hunting and demonstrate how to pluck, butcher and cook duck.
Marya Halvorsen catches a halibut. Teresa Carlson, Ruth Dawson, Judy Michener, Julie Knagin and Gayla Pedersen talk about drying and cooking halibut.
Julie Knagin, Ruth Dawson, Sally Carlough, Julia Naughton, and Herman Squartsoff talk about harvesting berries. Pat Kozak demonstrates how to make ciitaq (cheeduk) - mashed berries with sugar and milk.
Gayla Pedersen, Ruth Dawson, and Herman Squartsoff discuss the nutritional value of marine plants, share their favorite ways to prepare these plants, and talk about using kelp as a garden fertilizer.
Carl Gronn shares his method for salting cod.
Julie Knagin, Teresa Carlson, Gayla Pedersen, Sally Carlough, Ruth Dawson, Herman Squartsoff, and Julia Naughton talk about smoking salmon and making perok (fish pie).
Gayla Pedersen and Julie Knagin talk about the medicinal uses and nutritional value of wild greens.
Julie Knagin and Marya Halvorsen discuss butchering and cooking ptarmigan.
Patrick Saltonstall, Ruth Dawson, and Teresa Carlson talk about deer hunting, butchering, and preparing different cuts of meat.
Herman Squartsoff demonstrates how to clean and cook octopus.
Information on the use of wild foods is also preserved in historic sources. As part of this project, Alutiiq Museum staff members surveyed the early historic accounts of Alutiiq life on Kodiak to learn more about traditional harvesting and food preparation. The table available below provides a guide to these sources and the information they contain.
Download the Table
Historic References to Wild Foods
Woman spearing flounder through the ice, Karluk River ca. 1955. Courtesy Patty Mahoney.
Quyanaa - Thank you
Amanda Miles, Andrew Christofferson, April Laktonen Counceller, Barbara Hochmuth, Bennita Berestoff, Candace Branson, Carl Christiansen, Jr., Carl Gronn, Sr., Chickie Wegdahl, Denise May, Florence Pestrikoff, Gayla Pedersen, Halvorsen Family, Herman Squartsoff, Ivan Lukin, Iver Malutin, Jerry Laktonen, Judy Michener, Judy Simeonoff, Julia Naughton, Julie Kaiser, June Pardue, Kathey Druckrey, Kathryn Chichenoff, Larry Crozier, Larry Evans, Mary Haakanson, Marya Halvorsen, Mary Jane Longrich, Nancy Jones, Nick Alokli, Nina Gronn, Pat Kozak, Patrick Saltonstall, Peter Squartsoff, Ruth Dawson, Sally Carlough, Sara Squartsoff, Shel Ma Belle, Sophie Sheperd, Sven Haakanson, Jr., Ted Panamarioff, and Teresa Carlson
Photos: Above- collecting chitons along the Kodiak shoreline. Below- Dishes shared at a wild foods potluck.
Project funding generously provided by the
National Park Service Tribal Preservation Program