Week 9: Inuit Snow Goggles

What do you think this artifact is?

Can you guess who made it?

Are snow goggles worn by both men and women, and found in all arctic areas?



Answers:

What do you think this artifact is?

These are snow goggles made by the Inuit group of Native people who live in the Arctic. Inuit Natives travel across snow and ice to hunt and fish. Snow goggles were designed to reduce the amount of sunlight reflecting off the snow, preventing snow blindness when outdoors. Notice the narrow slits that only allow a small amount of sunlight in.

Can you guess who made it?

The Inuit communities are found in the Arctic, in the Northwest Territories, Labrador and Quebec in Canada, above tree line in Alaska (where people are called the Inupiat and Yupik), and in Russia (where people are called the Yupik people). In some areas, individuals made these goggles out of bone, ivory, or, like the one shown, wood. The world's first sunglasses can be dated back to 2000 years ago, and are found in the west coast Alaska region.

Are snow goggles worn by both men and women, and found in all arctic areas?

Everyone who was out on the snow and ice wore these snow goggles. They fit tight to the face so light could only get in through the slits. By squinting people who wore these had very good eyesight. They were found in all the arctic areas.


For more information:

Alaska Native Collections (Smithsonian)
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
Canadian Museum of History