Doll, inuguaq (“small wooden doll”)

April 7, 2010
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inuguaq (“small wooden doll”)

Tua-i-llu nutaan ilii tauna waten inuguallermini ellami makuciq waten ellamun anulluku ilami nalluani pirtunglliniuq uksurpak arulayunani nunat taukut tuani nuniitni. (One of them played with a doll like this and brought it outside, and no one knew about it. Soon the weather became stormy and stayed bad all winter without ceasing in their village.)

-John Phillip Sr., 2002

A Yup’ik girl’s dolls were toys as well as symbols of her future life as an adult. A girl played house with them, using miniature dishes and tools and blankets made of mouse skins. There was a strict rule against taking a doll outside during winter and breaking it was thought to bring endless cold and storms. Girls took their “pretend children” outdoors only after certain migrating birds – on Nelson Island, the red-throated loon – appeared in the spring.


Also called: irniaruaq (“pretend person, doll”)