Famous Yup'ik skin sewer Lucy Beaver dies

August 31, 2012 

Lucy Beaver in 1994

TUZZY CONSORTIUM LIBRARY, UAF

Nobody's sure how old Lucy Beaver was, but everyone close to her agrees she was well over a century old. Beaver, especially well-known for her mukluks and parkas, died in Anchorage last week. KYUK says she was born in a fall camp on the lower Kuskokwim River and lived most of her life in Bethel.

In a translated interview with KYUK in 1985, Beaver said she learned to sew on skins when she was a young girl by drawing designs in the mud with her story knife. She said no one taught her how to sew -- she just watched others doing it. But she didn't always like it.

"After I married, my husband used to have me sew. He'd let me sew on my own," Beaver said through a translator. "I was a young girl then and I enjoyed being outside. I wouldn't want to sew, and I'd cry because I hated to sew (laughing)."

Read more, and hear an audio report, at KYUK. A famous photo of Beaver taken by Myron Rosenberg can be seen at KTUU, along with more details of her life.

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