Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kuspuks Make Front Page News





Our Gastineau Elementary School project of Making Kuspuks, with Yup'ik Eskimo cultural instructor, Theresa John, and second grade teacher Paula Savikko, of Douglas, Alaska made the Juneau Daily Empire's front page news.



News reporter, Brian Wallace, of Juneau came in and spent a half an hour with us profiling the children's efforts and how we used non-standard math measurements to rip out the kuspuk(also quaspeg or qaspeg,all pronounced 'cuss-puck' ) patterns the original Yup'ik or native Eskimo way. Photos were taken of children being measured, showing how they ripped fabric pieces to size based on these physical measurements and then sewing the kuspuks pieces together, with the help of volunteers. We were delighted to discover that not only did we make the news but were placed on the front page with large photos.



Archived link: Photos: Parka party 01/18/08

The following day, a Juneau Empire videographer joined us. She video taped the class, all of the children now wearing their own newly created kuspuks, as we were rejoined by Theresa John, our gifted Yupik Eskimo cultural student, teacher, and doctoral candidate from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Theresa led us in Yupik song and dance, this time we were all wearing our completed kuspuks and we performed the dance several times to the delight of the children, as well as the visitors. The link will be available, online, in the Juneau Empire video archives.






The children dearly loved the entire experience and we celebrated afterwards with small cups of chamomile tea and graham crackers. Perhaps, not culturally traditional, but certainly appreciated and enjoyed!

Kuspuks are done! Such fun, a lot of work and many, many rewards!
How to make a kuspuk
Kuspuks Make Front Page News
Juneau Empire Photos: Parka party 01/18/08
video


 Links to Making Kuspuks in 2009
Fun But Frenzied Frugality: Sewing Kuspuks Again!
Kuspuks and Friday Finishes

5 comments:

  1. Michele, this is a wonderful concept, a wonderful project, wonderful coverage , and wonderful of you to share it. Thank you.

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  2. What a delightful addition to your "busman's holiday" ... something that you'll treasure long after you return home. Thank you (!!) for sharing.

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  3. thanks for letting us share in the fun, you famous Kuspuk Maker you! It's great working with young people like this-good for you.

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  4. Congrats! That's great!

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  5. You are having quite an adventure! What a wonderful event to share. All of you will be grinning for a long time when a Kuspuk is mentioned. You are not going to want to go home, lol.

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.