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John Iyapana Kugeri

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early twentieth century. Ignaluk

The only traditional kugeri remaining on Little Diomede Island, John Iyapana's house was probably constructed in the early twentieth century. The kugeri—a community house, larger than individual dwellings—is a semi-subterranean dwelling with a tunnel entrance coming up through the floor. The interior is approximately 14 feet square. The walls are constructed of vertical planks, held by corner posts and horizontal logs; on the outside is a 10-inch-thick layer of sod, covered by a layer of stone. A bench runs around the four walls of the interior; other original furnishings include two stands for seal oil lamps and two drying racks. The walls have recently been painted white to conceal layers of soot. The skylight in the roof was traditionally covered with seal intestine; it is now covered with plastic and protected by a balustrade. The 28-foot-long tunnel entrance is framed with timber, plywood, and whale bones; near the entrance is a storeroom, approximately 5½ feet square and about 4 feet 9 inches high.

When refurbished in 1945, wooden planks from Seattle were used to replace old wallboards and ceiling. The ceiling was raised about 2½ feet. In 1977, a fuel oil stove and electric lights replaced the seal oil lamps.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "John Iyapana Kugeri", [Kodiak, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 266-266.

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