Women had important economic, social, and spiritual roles in classical Alutiiq society. In addition to collecting plant foods, they processed fish for storage, tanned hides, sewed the skin coverings for kayaks, wove baskets, and manufactured clothing. In winter villages, groups of related women lived together in large sod houses with their husbands and children. A pair of sisters, for example, might share a household. Some anthropologists believe that the Alutiiq were a matrilineal society. Descent may have been traced through women, with children gaining their family identity from their mother’s side.
In the spiritual realm, women shared their powers as both shamans and healers. The shaman was a mystical person. They communicated with the spiritual world and could foretell the future, forecasting the wealth or predicting the success of subsistence activities. In contrast, healers were community doctors. They manufactured herbal medicines, tended the sick, and acted as midwives.
Source: Alutiiq Museum
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Photo: APD suspects Corey Murphy, Clifford Price Jr, and Christopher Kotris Jr. Image-State of Alaska (Anchorage, AK) – The State of...