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Parkas are part of a living tradition in southwest Alaska. Some are ornamented with tassels, beads, and elaborate stitching; others are simpler fur or birdskin garments. Although fewer fancy parkas are sewn today, many people still wear those made for them by their mothers and other relatives.

"Parka-making" conversations touch on every aspect of Yup'ik life―child rearing, marriage partnerships, ceremonies and masked dances, traditional oral instructions, and much more. In The Flying Parka, more than fifty Yup'ik men and women share sewing techniques and "parka stories," speaking about the significance of different styles, the details of family designs, and the variety of materials used in creating these functional and culturally important garments.

Based on nearly two decades of conversations with Yup'ik sewing groups and visits to the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of Natural History, this volume documents the social importance of parkas, the intricacies of their construction, and their exceptional beauty. It features over 170 historical and contemporary images, full bilingual versions of six parka stories, and a glossary in Yup'ik and English.

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