Due to the small size and communal nature of qiviut farming in Alaska, the entire process from harvesting to processing and sale is run by the Oomingmak Co-operative association. The name of the association comes from the Inuit word for the muskox, which means “the animal with skin like beard.”
The Co-operative came into existence in 1969, to ensure the continual production of qiviut and that it provides benefits to the local people. They work with processing companies, e-commerce, postal agencies, and local weavers to produce qiviut items year after year.
Currently, there are only two active qiviut farms in Alaska; one in Palmer and the other at the University of Alaska. Even at the low production rate, they are still thriving economically when compared to other wools.
Qiviut has the potential to offer an immense financial benefit to regions where muskoxen exist. This is not just because it is rare, but also because of its efficiency and eco-friendliness. Native Alaskan women and a few men weave the qiviut yarns in special patterns unique to their village community.
These techniques are not available for commercial purposes, and each pattern has copyright protection. The latter can only be used by members of the Oomigmak Co-operative. Some of these special patterns include the Nelson Island Diamond pattern, which is unique to the people of Nightmute, Tununak, Newtok, and Toksook Bay. Also, the Harpoon pattern is indigenous to the Nunivak Island natives only.
The weavers produce sweaters, scarves, hats, tunics, smoke-rings, and stoles which the Co-operative will package and sell. Each weaver receives payment on each item they sell.