Making Bone Grease or Puiñiq

Classroom Activities

  1. If you live in Anaktuvuk Pass, have your class visit the museum with a woman elder who is familiar with making puiñiq, and have her talk about how it is made today, how it was made in the past, and the tools that are on display.
  2. This fall, following the caribou migration hunt, have the students collect marrow bones, both isugluk and saunigluk, and have a woman elder or two process the bones into puiñiq.  Students can help with the work by breaking bones and boiling water.  When the process is complete, have the students sample both kinds of grease.
  3. As these activities are underway, have some of the students record the process with tape recorders, cameras, and if possible with the school video-tape camera.
  4. Following these activities, have the students give written reports on what they have learned.  These reports can be used to help assemble a traveling exhibit of photos, video tapes, and audio tapes about making puiñiq that can be sent to other schools in the district, all prepared by the students, with guidance from the museum.
  5. Students who do not live in Alaska can try the stone boiling method. Be sure to choose igneous rocks with a smooth even texture with no fault or crack lines so they won't explode while heated.
  6. Visit the local butcher shop and ask for leg bones of beef or sheep. Following the procedures in this Learning Center, extract the marrow and boil it to render grease.