Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas, Aleutian Style

Unangan Santa with the Grand Aleutian Hotel and Mt. Ballyhoo in the background

The Ounalashka Corporation displays my favorite island Christmas decoration. Wearing a traditional bentwood hat, the Unangan Santa navigates his carved bidarka led by a team of seals.  Of course, he should be out in the Bering Sea, but then we would not be able to enjoy his presence.    

Unalaska has 6000 or more years of rich cultural history; the Unangan people lived off the land and sea, built underground houses to protect themselves from the harsh weather, made waterproof clothing from the guts and skins of sea mammals, skillfully carved boats and tools and ornaments, used native plants and berries for food and medicine.  I would not give up my modern conveniences to go back in time,  but I sometimes wonder what life was like for the people who lived in this beautiful place thousands of years ago, before the Russians, before the Americans, when their culture and traditions were valued and respected, and every day was a challenge, a victory of survival over the elements.


Frieda said...

Thank you for that! I had no idea there were native oriented Christmas decorations. Very nice and educational to those of us down here in the lower 48.

Gigi said...

You're welcome, Frieda, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. There is so much history here and it is very interesting to learn more about the culture of the people who were here long before us. Happy holidays to you and yours!

Carlisleboy said...

Now that you have your blog figured out you can go home, pop up some corn, and Make Richard Sit Down to Watch "Mama Mia!" With you!!! ( A good Bottle of Wine Before Had makes it even better.....)

Gigi said...

OMG, Carlisle Boy, you are commenting on my blog AND following?! Will the Republicans kick you out of the party? I can't believe you are hanging out in enemy territory. The Christmas spirit must have completely overtaken you. LOL Just kidding, ya know. Welcome aboard. :) As for Mama Mia, well, my hubby is still hard at work and I am trying to get my house cleaned before vacation so we will see if we can squeeze in a movie or not!

Suzassippi said...

Nice to be back in Mississippi tonight and with Internet access. I have missed being able to find out what is up in the world of blogsville these last few days. :)

Love Unangan Santa. :)