Cliff and Shirley WeyiouannaRick Riewe
Cliff and Shirley Weyiouanna
Rick Riewe


The power of footwear and clothing is extraordinary, from its function as an incredibly important cultural identifier to its ability to communicate with the spirit world. Alaskan people's footwear, clothing and tools reflect their ancient values, evolving lifestyles and contact with outsiders. Whether the clothing is created from warm caribou or bird skins, water repellent sealskins or waterproof intestines and fish skins, it is most always superbly designed and sewn. It provides shelter from the arctic environment, proclaims the identity and homeland of the wearer and seamstress, is a creative work of art, and enables individuals to communicate with the spirits in a manner critical to their survival. In return, animal spirits reveal themselves in flickering glimpses.

"I make boots by following the old ways, the animals understand these ways. The weather is always changing so I make lots of different boots for Cliff." Shirley Weyiouanna, Shishmaref, Alaska, 1988