Artifacts

Bird Snares
ITEM: 707
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Bird trips comprising of short wooden sticks pointed at each end. Piece of whale bone attached with slip knot at the end.

Comb
ITEM: 605
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This comb is made from light brown wood with the image carved in the form of totemic design resembling the bear. The upper part of this one represents Swaixwe, a mythical sky-being who descended on earth and lived in the lakes. It was likely to have been worn by a Shaman who never cut their hair as it was considered... read more

Fish Hooks with Figures
ITEM: No Provenance 1 and 2
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Fish hooks would be used to catch feed. Both fish hooks feature a figure carved into one side of the wooden hook. The rope used to hold the hook comes out from the belly of the figure. On the Northwest Coast respect would always be shown to animals and the natural world. It was believed that if respect was shown,... read more

Halibut Hooks
ITEM: 751a, 789f
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Streams on the Queen Charlotte Island are too small for salmon, and so the Haida depended on halibut and cod for food. The Haida developed hooks such as these to fish Halibut, which are flat fish that feed close to the bottom of offshore banks. The U shaped hooks are made from wood and animal bone. The barb, described as “a marvel... read more

Ivory Harpoon Heads
ITEM: E1, E2, E6
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Used as a tool to harvest sea mammals, these foreshaft handles would have an arrowhead attached. Different sized harpoons would be used depending on the hunt; smaller harpoons would be used for seals, and larger ones for walruses and whales. When used, the end of the foreshaft would become detached from the arrow which would become embedded into the animal’s... read more

String of Wampum
ITEM: NMEMG 32_1931
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White cylindrical beads ground from shells of marine clams or quahogs and whelks. Wampum comes from the Narragansett word for ‘white shell beads’. Wampum was introduced by the Haudenosaunee.  Hayo’wetha (Hiawatha) used the beads to console himself after the loss of his family by Tadadaho, an evil Onondaga leader, who hated the message of peace that Hayo’wetha advocated. Strings of... read more