By Sharla Rae
Well made, tough, and handsome – that’s my Alaskan hunks. Now all good writers will point out that I left out emotional traits. That’s because I’m not talking about living, breathing guys, not even book heroes. These dudes are members of my doll collection.
I discovered my three hunks during an Alaskan cruise. The first fellow is an Eskimo and his tag says his name is Arkadik. We can easily see what Eskimos look like on TV, but this guy gives a real feel for what it’s must like to go hunting for seals, polar bear, and arctic fox while bundled up to the nines.
Some dolls like Arkadik are completely clad in beaver and other expensive furs. My guy sports a modest rabbit fur costume with real wolf fur around the hood. Beaver covers his boots. Fur mittens hang from a leather string wrapped around his neck, and his face is hand-carved yellow cedar, one of Alaska’s, native trees. He’s a sweetheart to be sure, very cuddly.
Stats: Born in Juneau and his maker is Memeluk Fur Doll Co. He’s 18 inches tall including the fur that stands up around his hood. I purchased him in Ketchikan, at a store called Perfect Partners.
My second hunk is a Siberian Yupik Eskimo from Savoonga Village on St. Lawerence Island. He’s a fisherman who spears fish from his canoe so he wears a real waterproof Walrus gut coat trimmed and decorated with otter fur. The gut coat is worn over a mukluk fur coat for warmth. Walrus hide encases his sturdy legs. His long, Indian-style hair is held off his leather face with beaded strings.
Stats: He was made by an artist named Louisa Pungowiyi. He’s 13 ¾ inches tall, and was purchased in Skagway, Alaska at a store called Inside Passage Arts.
The third hunk is very special, an Athabascan Indian doll. He’s so detailed that I can’t go into the nitty-gritty details here, but he’s made entirely of tan/gold moose hide with fur, beads, shells and feathers sewn to his costume. His long Indian braids are black yarn tied with wine colored hide string. His hood is trimmed with gray wolf fur and is further decorated with a red flower beadwork design that’s repeated throughout his attire. The arms of his moose hide shirt are trimmed with a band of beaver fur. His mittens are trimmed with the same fur and the top of mittened hands are decorated with beadwork. Even his moose hide boots are trimmed with beads and fur. For several years the poor dear occupied his own cabinet because he made everything around him smell of freshly smoked moose hide. I loved him all the more his peculiarity.
Stats: This 15 ½ inch doll is a native Indian handicraft made by the artist, Lena Sanford in July of 2000. He was purchased at a shop called Steamboat Landing in Fairbanks.
My guys might not be the most demonstrative of men, but you have to admit they inspire their very own stories.
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