For making a museum collections database type entry I had challenges picking something that I felt that I have truly collected for many of my possessions are in storage or are simply used and not something that I had gotten for any reason other than their uses but I remembered my first purchase for a new home that I still love and would definitely say is something that I collected without intention to use for its created functionality.  These snowshoes are beautiful and one of a kind as there aren’t any other makers of Athabascan snowshoes that I know of that are currently making them the old way.  I grew up in Galena which is just down river from Ruby, so this item is very important to me.  I used the Anchorage Museum’s Online collection ( http://onlinecollections.anchoragemuseum.org/#/ ) for my template.  Funnily enough the Anchorage Museum had a pair of George’s Snowshoes already in their collection ( http://onlinecollections.anchoragemuseum.org/#/artist/165 ), so it made it very simple for me to follow since it is a similar item by the same artist.  I did adapt it however for my particular snowshoes which are a bit smaller in size. I also included the acquisition information about when they were collected and where. I found it important to look up the Denaakk’e (Koyukon Athabaskan language) word for Snowshoes – Oyh and the Denaakk’e name for Ruby – Tl’aa’ologhe, so that they would have the Indigenous language data represented, if this was a real entry I imagine citation for the language information would be needed.  I do not have any formal Denaakk’e language skills or I would try to use more of the terminology for the materials used to make the snowshoes.  It would be lovely to have personal use data for these and a story to record about them but they have not been worn or used for their intended purpose as of yet, maybe one day I will wear them and they will feel snow on the Yukon river. 

Object Name: Snowshoes (Oyh)

Title: 48 inch Racing Snowshoes

Artist/Maker: George Albert

Date: 2018

Materials: Caribou babiche, Birch wood, Moose rawhide

Culture: Athabascan, Koyukon

Categories: Clothing

Provenance & Object History: Purchased at the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Native Arts market 2018, from Rose Albert (a relative), made by George in Ruby (Tl’aa’ologhe) on the Yukon River. 

Dimensions: 121.92  x 20.96 x 2.54 cm (48 x 8 1/4 x 1 in.)

Description: Snowshoes made from birch with caribou babiche and moose rawhide footing.

Exhibit or Storage: Currently Stored for Exhibit/installation in fish camp cabin in Cohoe, AK

Media: Image featured on 10/20/18 instagram post by @ivalumin

Credit: Personal Purchase

Accession#: 2018.010.001

Ana baasee’ – Quyana

Q: Would maintaining personal collections records in this format be helpful for collectors of rare items?

3 Thoughts to “Oyh -Snowshoes”

  1. Michael Hubert

    ERIN ,
    I like the item you picked this week. we also have a pair of old style snowshoes that hang in our house. I think if you live in Alaska you have to have something like this on your wall. this was a great read this week

  2. Barbara Long

    Good Morning Erin,

    Great information on the lovely snowshoes. Very nice! As for your question: Yes, the format is excellent. I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing.
    Respectfully,
    Barbara

  3. Angela Linn

    Awesome job Erin! I love George Albert’s snowshoes – we interviewed him at the UAMN in 2008 when I curated the exhibit “Hunting & Trapping in Alaska’s Interior: Our Stories, Our Lives.” Such a treasure whose skills I hope are picked up by a young person to carry this amazing art form. Of the 62 pair of snowshoes in our collection at UAMN (43 full-size and the rest models) only 18 are attributed to a known creator. It’s sad to me to think that such a skill goes unacknowledged.
    And to answer your question, if private individuals kept their records like this museums would be in HEAVEN! Not just if a collector planned to donate them some day, but in general, it’s important to keep that knowledge in ones family and share with others. Not to mention the terrible chance that if you are the victim of a robbery, you’ll have a much better chance of recovering them or getting an insurance settlement to replace them.
    AND, thank you for pointing out the important step of including local terminology for objects, people, and places associated with objects. Museum collections can help communities reconnect with lost traditions as well as missing words in their language. By integrating those local placenames and terminology for those objects, museums can help support the language revitalization efforts of communities.

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