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Dagger

k’aawhl “dagger”
Language: Haida

The single bladed one was a handy weapon that was always at your side.

—Peter Jack, 2005

The figures on this single-bladed dagger are mountain sheep. If a man died by violence, offerings were sent to him by dipping arrows in food and shooting them up through the smoke hole of the lineage house. The arrows reached the house of the sky god Tā΄xet, who gave shelter to the souls of those who had been killed. It was a saying at Masset that “the world is as sharp as a knife,” signifying the narrow margin between life and death.

Culture: Haida
Region: Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Object Category: War
Dimensions: Length 47.5cm
Accession Date: 1905
Source: Bernard A. Whalen (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 004632.000