Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
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Seal drag

uqsiutaq “seal drag”
Language: North Slope Iñupiaq

When an old man made something like this he’d hand it to his young son. “Here’s your charm, your good luck that I give you.” Some of these items gave men good luck in their hunting. They meant a lot - they were powerful.

—Kenneth Toovak, 2002

This walrus ivory handle and strap were used for hauling seals across the ocean ice back to the village. The hunter cut a slit through the animal’s lip or beneath its jaw then pushed the loop through the slit and back over the handle. He attached a longer line that either he or his dogs could pull. The ivory handle is also a hunting charm, carved to represent two mittens joined end-to-end with a seal’s head in the center.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Northwest Alaska
Village: Point Barrow
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 15cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: Lt. P. H. Ray (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E056625