Alaskan Native Folk Art
Artist & Historian-Melitta Higher
Melitta illustrates her family history through her art, including traditional and contemporary work. She tells the story that indigenous people of coastal Alaska in the 17th century traded utilitarian objects for metal implements, cloth, and foodstuffs such as tea, flour, or sugar. Early trading of carving was valued for their functionality: clothing woven from grass, harpoon tips carved from the tusks of the walrus, rainproof outerwear animal skins valued for their warmth and durability and over time traditional painting and carving were prized. She says the replica art she creates preserve her rich family history.