Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 

Rattle

sheishóox “rattle”
Language: Lingít

Yaatáa ku .aa gwál, xixch áyá akwshá? Waanganéens, Ixt du shagooni áyá. Ách’ áyá tlél aadéi jakoogéiyee aaxxduwashaadee yé. (This may be a frog here. Sometimes these tell the story of the shaman. This is why it can’t be just picked up.)

—Clarence Jackson, 2005

Chiefs, dancers, and shamans used rattles that depicted Raven with a reclining human figure on his back. The figure receives spiritual power through the tongue of a bird, or from the tongue of a frog that the bird holds in its beak. The symbolism refers to the way that an ixt’, or shaman, acquired the land otter and other animals as helping spirits by cutting out their tongues. The face of a hawk is carved on Raven’s chest. Raven rattles were widespread among Northwest Coast peoples and are thought to have been first made by the Nisga’a.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Southeast Alaska
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 32cm
Accession Date: 1905
Source: B. A. Whalen (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 005573.000