After reading the assigned 2003 article of Who Owns Native Culture by Brown, I had recollection of a flap over the Alaska Airlines logo and a tangential aside concerning the popular name designation for a celestial object tagged as the Eskimo Nebula.

The flap over the Eskimo face and logo on the tail of AK Air is long standing and an example of the battle over cultural icons per the links below that have been contentious since 1988 continuing to 2019.  Considering the history of Alaska Airlines and the recent purchase of a portion of Virgin America’s operations, this has been a long fight over corporate branding.  AK Air has many previous tail logos of which the Eskimo face became prevalent after the 1970’s

Who Is the Person on the Alaska Airlines Logo?

2000sAlaska Airline LogoImage result for alaska airlines originImage result for alaska airlines origin

However, the most popular guesses include native Alaskans Oliver Amouak and Chester Seveck. Seveck was a reindeer herder and Eskimo dancer from Kotzebue. He and his wife used to greet incoming flights. Amouak was an Inupiat Eskimo who had been hired by the airline in the late 1950s for a traveling stage show.
But being a 70 year old fossil living in Fairbanks since 1960, I have memories before the flap when AK Air had a completely different logo revolving around the 1967 centennial purchase celebration  of Alaska from Russia.   This was tagged before that as Golden Nugget Service to go back to the Gay 90’s. 
How would that sit today if it was introduced in the 1990’s rather than the 1960’s reference to the 1890’s gold rush?    Jet the LGBTQ Way?

Although not part of an airline,  the other changes that have occurred for common names of celestial objects shows you the ripples in space time that reflect differing notions of propriety and cultural recognition far removed from earth. The object I’m referring to is one I hunted for several years in the night sky with telescopes because it was impossible to see with the naked eye.  I used to put on star parties outside at UAMN but never showed this nebula in a telescope because it was swamped out by the parking lot lights.

The Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392), also known as the Clown-faced NebulaLion Nebula, or Caldwell 39, is a bipolar double-shell planetary nebula. It was discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1787. The formation resembles a person’s head surrounded by a parka hood. It is surrounded by gas that composed the outer layers of a Sun-like star. The visible inner filaments are ejected by a strong wind of particles from the central star. The outer disk contains unusual, light-year-long filaments. NGC 2392 lies about 6500 light-years away, and is visible with a small telescope in the constellation of Gemini.

On 11 August 2020, the IAU Working Group on Star Names discontinued use of three nicknames that were perceived as offensive – “Eskimo Nebula”, “Clown Face Nebula”, and “Clownface Nebula” – and strongly recommended the nebula be referred to by its NGC designation in further publications.  The image below from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) done in 1999 predates this popular name designation change of 2020. I am still amazed if a cadre of clowns also protested this because I haven’t seen an alternate universal name for them yet?  However, looking at the thesaurus options for clown there seem to be a lot of negative alternates and definitions that may not reflect those who still practice the profession or perform as hobbyists.



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