not just DNA that defines family.
Familial ties were evident in the beautiful
display of skin, fur and cloth clothing proudly exhibited in the
Native Regalia Contest Friday afternoon at the World Eskimo-Indian
Family threadlines ran throughout each
model's outfit from the handiwork of a 93-year-old great-great-grandmother
who fashioned fancy boots for her 18-month-old grandson, to many
grandmothers who sewed skins or painstakingly pieced black and white
calfskin into geometric trim for parkas and mukluks.
Contributions by mothers and aunties ran
the gamut from intricate skinwork hats, gloves and parkies to beaded
fur moccasins, fancy dresses and baby belts.
Sisters also got into the act, creating
beadwork on moosehide for parka trim and dance slippers, helping
out sisters and other young seamstresses just learning the basics
of design and embellishment from their relatives.
"The Olympics are all about traditions,
and it is an exciting thing is to see the younger women picking
up the talents from the elders," said Miranda Wright, a longtime
judge of the event. "It gives them a lot of pride to wear those
The men, as the hunters also are crucial
to outfitting the family. They bring home not only the meat for
sustenance but the hides and furs of the animals they hunt.
Parkas, hats, mittens, boots and moccasins
were made from many combinations of hides and fur such as caribou,
moose, marten, beaver, seal, bearded seal, rabbit, wolverine, silver
fox, muskrat, wolf and squirrel.
For example, 5-year-old Michelle Pearl
Kaleak of Barrow wore wolf mittens trimmed with beaver, a black
and white rabbit hat, a black rabbit-skin parka with a wolverine
and wolf sunshine ruff, and boots with dried sealskin soles trimmed
Whale baleen was even incorporated into
the elaborate outfit of little Jonathan Charles Fritch of Barrow
in the form of sunglasses to cut the glare of sun on snow.
While designing and making her two-piece
moosehide dress, Miss WEIO 2003 Erica Cleaver incorporated beadwork
patterns handed down from her grandmother, the late Eleanor Cleaver,
who taught her how to sew.
Vernetta Nay Moberly of Kotzebue wore
a muskrat parka with multiple wolverine fringes worthy of museum
display that featured a black and white calfskin diamond trim design,
her grandmother's trademark design. A similar design was incorporated
into the trim of her caribou mukluks made by another relative.
Winners in the three divisions of Friday's
Native Regalia Contest were: Hide--first place La'Ona DeWilde; second
place Caroline Demientieff, and third place Rebecca Cleary; Fur--first
place Joshua Stone; second place Kimberly Stone and third place,
a tie between Michelle Brower and Vernetta Nay Moberly; Cloth--first
place Ashlyn Santiago Brower; second place Isiah Frankson, and third
place Tyler Easton Leavitt-Alred.
Winners of Wednesday's Native Baby Contest
were: Skin Fur & Cloth are: Indian Furs--first place Kevin Cadzow;
second place Tallyah Marie Grace Butler, and third place Madeline
Hardy. Eskimo Furs--first place Jan Nashookpuk; second place Joshua
Ray Mathew Stone, and third place Tyler Easton Leavitt-Alred.
Eskimo Indian Olympics