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Mittens

dinjik dhah dzirh “moose-skin mittens”
Language: Gwich'in

Dinjik dhah dzirh [moose-skin mittens]. Dzirh tł‘yàa [mitten strings]. Sometimes you put rabbit skin inside. But when there are no rabbit skins they use caribou hair; they cut it and put it inside. When they travel, they don’t get cold.

—Trimble Gilbert, 2004

Moose-skin mittens, often beaded with leaf and flower designs, are designed for the deep cold of northern Athabascan country. These long, gauntlet-style Gwich’in mittens have wide tops to accommodate the sleeves of a parka. Bands of beaver fur encircle the cuff and wrist, and the braided yarn neck string is decorated with pompoms. Eliza Jones said, “When it’s windy, this beaver fur right here is good to hold against your face to warm it up.” Small glass and metal beads were used to work the intricate floral patterns.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River (upper), Alaska
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 37cm
Accession Date: 1928
Source: M. W. Pope (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 161647.000