Kids to Discover Kodiak History First Hand at Sum’Arts Camp

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

What do throwing boards, butter-making, and ciitaq have in common? They’re all things Kodiak kids of the past experienced in their daily lives. And they’re all something modern day middle school students will get to learn about at the Baranov Museum’s Kodiak Arts and Culture Camp through the Kodiak Arts Council’s Sum’Arts series.

Instructor Jill Lipka is the museum’s curator of education and says the selection of activities will range from crafts to food, and incorporate activities from different cultures in local history.

“We’re hoping to bring back some traditions from early America, we’re hoping to cover Alutiiq culture at contact through the Russia era into the American era, so we’ll have activities that cover those eras,” she says.

For instance, campers will make butter.

“We will use a daisy butter churn,” says Lipka. “It’s just a glass jar with a two-prong paddle on the inside and you rotate it with a little handle that goes around and around. It rotates like a little propeller, and you churn and you churn. And this is a good group activity, because if you do it by yourself, you get tired, but we can just pass that butter churner around the room, and you actually make butter.”

They’ll also whip up some ciitaq.

“Which, if you’re Alutiiq, you know right off the bat, it’s berries and sugar,” says Lipka. “And some people like cream in it and some people don’t, so that’s something that we’ll be making.”

Another piece of Alutiiq culture Lipka says they’ll incorporate is throwing boards.

“People think of bow and arrows for hunting. This is a projection of an arrow towards a target for hunting. And so my thought is the kids will get to use the throwing board, they’ll improve during the improve during the week, and the culmination of the week long camp is a proznick or a celebration, and the kids will be able to show their stuff, and the parents will get to try it for the first time, and the kids will really be able to shine.”

She says the camp is a way to help kids connect to history.

“We don’t have an understanding of what life was. What was it like before contact? You If you were an Alutiiq person, you would see the world a lot differently than we do today. You know, materials and sources for things and how you make things and the seasonal round. They’re still with us, but we also rely on Walmart and Safeway more than we ever have before.”

Lipka says the classes will continue every afternoon from July 20 to 24 and children in grades six through eight can sign up through the Kodiak Arts Council. Call 486 5291 or click here for more information and to sign up.

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