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tv   Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center  CSPAN  July 21, 2018 11:45am-12:01pm EDT

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explains the economic factors that drove northerners to volunteer. at 8:00, san diego state university professor on the militaryar from the escalation in 1965 to the fall of saigon 10 years later. at 11:00 a.m., military historian and his book, the unknown and the untold story of the unknown soldier and the most decorated heroes who brought him home. real30 p.m. eastern on america, as part of our alaskan 1930 six film, silver millions, the 1949 film, eskimo hunters and western alaska, the 1967 film, alaska centennial and the film a left got highway. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> anchorage, alaska is the
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state's largest city, located in the central portion. it is known as the air crossroads of the world. contains more than 40% of the total population. up next, we continue our look at alaska with the visit to the smithsonian arctic studies center to learn about alaskan native culture. i think that i am a born again native. isng alaskan native embracing your heritage by choice. it is creating new dances and new songs. thee are carrying on go-betweens. we can talk things out. it is a work in progress. we lost it and we are to get it back and i think we can. i tell visitors if you went
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from the south end of the gallery to the north, you would be embarking on a 1000 mile hike across the cultural landscape of alaska. you would be meeting the different regions and seeing their masterworks of art and design that have been created over the centuries for life in the arctic. this is living our cultures and sharing our heritage, the first people of alaska. it is an exploration of culture through language and art of the 20 different cultures. there are over 600 works on display here in this gallery. ishought what we would do take a walk and look at highlighted items. to talk about aspects of indigenous knowledge.
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that is what the exhibition celebrate. alaska,n southeastern in the cultural region. i wanted to talk about this rattle. piece.tle is a wonderful it is one of my favorites. frogs see there are carved into the face of the figure. emerging in the warm wind of spring. there is a story about how the frogs mocked the raven who was the creator, the spirit of ancient times. angry and froze the frogs into the mud. this is about reemergence of the frogs. the frogs are helping spirits.
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we can imagine this rattle was and it a curing ceremony was evoking the spirit and the spirit of the land. i wanted to look at this beautiful headdress. this is a ceremonial headdress from a community in the queen charlotte islands. t has a long train of furs. it has a small mask that would go above the forehead. on the top, there is a basket of sea lion whiskers. this is worn for dancing. she would shake her head and the feathers would float up and come down around the celebrants like snow falling. has a wonderful
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story. it is a portrait of a 12-year-old girl. she was the daughter of a chief and their house was the house of contentment, located in their village. her highdress reflects rank, her royal rank within society. in many parts of alaska, people inherit their clan membership from their mother. it is maternal. clan and that her will be among the larger group clansle or raven plans -- . if you are a raven, your opposite is a member of the eagle. those two sides intermarry with each other. they honor each other, they help each other out in crisis.
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they host ceremonies for the other side. this balance, this reciprocity. this piece is from southeast alaska. and whatoven tunic that refers to is a style of art of woven mountain goat hair over cedar bark. they have wonderful designs that portray the emblems of particular clans. case, this design represents the diving killer whale. ,nyone from that community would be aware of the clan affiliation. this is an emblem of the clan. to explain the design, this is a
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diving killer whale, the large eyes at the bottom are the whale's eyes. its body rises above. you see spirit faces. these are separate souls of the whale. one at the blowhole and one that represents the body of the whale. the tale of the whale has eyes built into it. this would be worn mostceremony and the important ones were memorials to someone who had died. ceremony would reflect on the person's ancestry and the ravens or eagles would host the ceremony for the other side. is from the lower yukon river.
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it portrays the wilds man. some people call it the crybaby mask. philip errol, one of our elders who came to washington to look at pieces in the collection, said the only thing missing was a dangling wouldn't carving -- wooden carving. another feature of the mask you can see the lines like goggles. they represent the enhanced spirit vision of the man. these were a part of hunting ceremonies. at the end of the hunting season, in the wintertime, one aspect of that was releasing carved stakes that represent the souls of the animal. it is returning the souls of the
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animals to the environment. , those animals would come back because they had been treated with respect. bowl andking at a ladle from southwest alaska. on the inside, this is a personal bowl. on the inside is a emblem that shows a caribou that is linked to its inner spirit. this represents the conception that animals have an inner life. in form andhuman animals and humans can transform . ladle of at is a seal. it shows the internal organs. one of the customs that is that the people would welcome a seal they had
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killed or any animal from saltwater. when they brought it to shore, they would give a symbolic drink of fresh water to the animal. this was a way of welcoming it. that animals who live in the salty sea art dreaming of fresh water. and it in the bering sea is made from seal intestines. this is a very large seal. intestines make wonderful waterproof raingear. in this case, the intestines and into thened, strips. into these sewn strips. it has been decorated with these feathers. this is a ceremonial parka and it is worn by people when they
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would welcome a whale to the community. they had killed a whale and they brought it back and they would go to the shore and drink fresh water and the celebrants would wear a parka like this. this could last a lifetime. they are durable and flexible. this one looks dry because it has been in a museum for over 100 years. it with water, it would regain its flexibility. were light, flexible, waterproof garments. they are warm as well. them as an example of indigenous technology and design , using resources from the environment to create something that enables people to live in the arctic. arctic regionhe
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from the 1890's, collected from the first polar year. it is made of reindeer. that is from the chest. the brown is from its legs. it is surrounded with wolf fur around the hood. reindeer clothing is warm. this keeps the caribou warm and if you make clothing from it, it is warm. this is a woman's parka. it has a feminine style around its bottom. it is a beautiful piece of sewing. be worn at a winter ceremony and it would display the skill of the seamstress. there are continuities in alaska native life from the past to the whaling anduding
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the people of northern alaskan communities hunt whales in the ocean. they are in traditional boats that are covered with traditional skins. boats the traditional would be this seat that would go in the back where the captain would sit. this whale would be hidden under the seat. you're looking at the bottom of the sea. it was one of the ways that the hunters communicated their respect to the whale. you could call it a charm or a sign of respect that the art conveyed. whenf the elders told us the whales are under the water and they are looking up at the them, they look and
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see which ones are clean, which one has the hunters wearing real clothing, showing respect. they will pick which hunters they want to give themselves to. i would like for visitors to come away with a sense of the depth of indigenous knowledge. imagine you are in an indigenous landscape, people have created this art from the resources of the land and the sea and using their knowledge of history and technology, of spiritual ecology, knowledge of animals. using that, they have created the cultures you experience in this gallery.
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>> our cities tour staff recently traveled to alaska to learn about its rich history. learn about alaska and other stops on our tour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. next, if panel of nixon era officials revisit the drug initiatives. they discuss law enforcement strategy and even the president's famous meeting with elvis presley. the national archives and the richard nixon foundation cohosted this event. it's an hour and half.

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