Via The Harvard Crimson
Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology recently transferred ownership of an ancestral Alutiiq, or Sugpiaq, kayak to the Alutiiq Museum, a cultural museum and tribal repository in Kodiak, Alaska, according to a Jan. 24 press release from the Alaskan museum.
The relocation of the kayak — which spans 14.5 feet in length — is part of the Peabody’s ongoing efforts to repatriate cultural artifacts of Native American origin. The announcement comes nearly two years after Harvard was accused of being in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act by the Association on American Indian Affairs.
The Alutiiq Museum requested the ownership transfer in the fall of 2022, citing spiritual reasons. Due to its seams embellished by human hair, the kayak was likely used for “talismanic purposes.” Complete with a wooden frame covered in oiled seal skin, the boat is a “rare example of a complete ancestral kayak,” according to the press release.