Qayaq Co-Op to produce neo traditional kayaks, canoes and skin boats


April 19, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska – The Qayaq Co-Op uses cutting edge technology to produce neo traditional qayaqs (kayaks), canoes and skin boats.

Indigenuity is launching a kickstarter fundraising campaign for the Qayaq Co-Op. The Qayaq Co-Op is a start-up in Anchorage, Alaska, harnessing the genius of traditional Native craftsmanship and combining it with digital fabrication technology to produce neo-traditional qayaqs. The project will demonstrate that mass customization manufacturing of the qayaq will support the preservation of traditional boat building knowledge and use. The Qayaq Co-Op will serve as an example for knowledge-based economic development in Anchorage and throughout the state. David Karabelnikoff, a co-founder of the Qayaq Co-Op, explained his broader vision for knowledge-based economic development for Alaska at the 2013 TEDx Anchorage.  

The goals of the project are to:

Preserve the knowledge of and revitalise the use of the traditional boats of Alaska & the circumpolar

Develop a culturally relevant social enterprise for workforce development training and digital fabrication training for at-risk youth, especially Alaska Native youth.

Demonstrate a positive image of Alaska Native cultures to the broader community.  

Jumpstart the development of a maker space in Anchorage this spring

Digital manufacturing tools and space for prototyping and fabrication

Support for building community-based businesses

The Qayaq Co-Op will help preserve traditional Alaska Native knowledge and spur homegrown economic development throughout Alaska. Prototyping the qayaq will serve as an interactive workshop for participants to indigenize maker technology. Participants will learn to use 3D printers, CNC machines and laser cutters. Weekly open house sessions will be held to gain community interest and support for the Qayaq Co-Op and the broader maker movement. This initial success will be leveraged to raise funds to acquire supportive housing and to purchase digital manufacturing equipment and set up the qayaq co-op for production.  “This program will empower Alaska Natives by building upon our shared cultural and technological background with the qayaq,” Karabelnikoff says.

Qayaq Co-Op is considering a location in the Mountain View neighborhood of Anchorage, one of the most diverse communities in Anchorage, Alaska's biggest Native village. The kickstarter campaign aims to raise well beyond $25,000 in pledges. The campaign is offering awards, including a traditional hand made Qayaq at the $10,000 Award level. Every person who donates through kickstarter will receive an award. The kickstarter campaign begins the week of April 19th and runs through May 10th.

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For more information go to or call 907.717.5075.


Qayaq Co-Op press release