Little Cute One
Elltuwaqa aa’icagamek ap’rtaaqa. - I call my granddaughter “little cute one.”
The Alutiiq word aa’icagaq is a common term of endearment that means “little cute one”—similar to “sweetie” or “cutie pie” in English. People use this word when speaking to or describing children. You might say, “Come here aa’icagaq” to your sister’s chubby toddler, or tell a friend “Oh! Your baby is such an aa’icagaq.” And in Alutiiq communities, where people often acquire nicknames as children, there are those who are called Aa’icagaq throughout their lives.
Although most frequently used to refer to children, the word aa’icagaq can be applied to anything you might call cute in English, from baby seals to stuffed animals or even a good-looking woman. With a twinkle in his eye, one Elder calls almost every woman he meets aa’icagaq!Similarly, because this term refers to small, attractive things, and it is a word that many students of the Alutiiq language learn, it is also used as a name for objects. For example, the rowboat used at Dig Afognak, a local culture camp, is called the Aa’icagaq.
Photo: Two examples of Aa’icagaq an Old Harbor boy and his puppy.