Terry Nayokpuk – Double Vertebrae Dancer/ Drummer


Terry Nayokpuk is an Inupiat Eskimo from Shishmaref, Alaska. He lives a traditional life, carving full time for a living. His work is well known and highly regarded. He comes from a large family of artists who also live in the village of Shishmaref. He is in his early thirties and has a family.

His carvings are created from old whalebone, baleen, and walrus ivory. The Eskimos of Shishmaref still eat a primarily traditional diet of fish, walrus and whale. Fishing, hunting and ceremony are frequent themes in Terry Nayokpuk carvings. The pigmentation in the whalebone comes from minerals in the earth being absorbed into the porous whalebone. Whalebones are found frequently in the arctic north and are often pulled up in fisherman’s nets.