Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
Related Media

Ceremonial spinner

kiavraq “spinner”
Language: North Slope Iñupiaq

Also called:
kiavraligaun “spinner”
Language: North Slope Iñupiaq

When they first started doing that Top Dance, I guess they selected an older person to do it, because if the feathers don’t fly off right, then either the performer or their relative would die, pass away, so they selected an older person. So it is kind of scary.

—Leo Kineeveauk, 2006

During Kiavsaq, the Top Dance, a performer pulled the cord to spin an inverted top made from wood or the tip of a mountain sheep horn. Down feathers glued lightly to the top flew off into the air, signaling good whaling and hunting in the coming year.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Northwest Alaska
Village: Point Barrow
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length: 7.9cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: Patrick H. Ray (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E089807