Maurice Nattanguk

Maurice Nattanguk is an Inupiaq ivory carver born in 1954 on King Island, Alaska. As a young boy, he developed his skill in carving walrus ivory by watching his elders use traditional tools including bow drills, hand files and axes.

Several decisions by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, including closing the schools sending all King Island children to the mainland for their education, made it difficult for the elders to continue to live on the Island. By 1970, all King Island people had moved to Nome and other mainland Alaskan communities to live year-round. However, even after the movement off the island, some King Islanders return to gather subsistence foods such as walrus and seal and still maintain a very distinct cultural identity, living a very similar life as they had on the island.

Family and tradition are very important to Maurice. He hunts walrus primarily for food, but he also uses the ivory for his carvings. All of the materials Maurice uses in his art are gathered as part of his subsistence lifestyle.

Maurice moved from Nome and currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska. He is known for his miniature animals and birds, especially his wonderful miniature puffins and puffin rookeries.
Puffin Rookery with Beluga Whale
Puffin Rookery with Beluga Whales by Maurice Nattanguk
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Seal Family
Seal Family by Maurice Nattonguk
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