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Yup'ik / Cup'ik Qasgiq (Men's House)

Yup'ik / Cup'ik Qasgiq (Men's House)

I'm giving a synopsis of the sign in the lower right corner. Reproduction of a qasgiq, or men's house, of the Yup'ik/Cup'ik tribe that inhabited southwestern Alaska from the Yukon Delta to the Alaska Peninsula, including present day Bethel and Dillingham, one of several native dwellings on display at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Posts and beams of driftwood were erected and covered with sod to insulate these southwest Alaskan winter homes. During the winter men and women lived in separate, similarly constructed houses, but the qasgiq was twice as large as the women's house.

When boys were old enough to leave their mothers and begin hunting, they moved into the qasgiq with the men and elders of the tribe to learn hunting and survival skills and other traditions of the Yup'ik/Cup'ik people. A qasgiq was the male-bonding command center for the tribe, where the men worked, ate, trained, bathed and slept. Also serving as a community center, the women and girls joined the men and boys in the evening and during winter festivals for singing, dancing and celebration.

Below is a view from the entryway of the qasgiq above. The Yup'ik tour guide is standing over the large fire pit. The fire pit draws air in via a tunnel under the floor extending from the pit to the front of the entryway. Smoke escapes through the sunlight directly above the fire pit.

 

Inside the Qasgiq

 

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