Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Snow goggles

noxtth’og “snow goggles, glasses”
Language: Deg Xinag

Also called:
snow glasses, sun goggles

Where I live, Eskimo people a long time ago came from the coast. They had been using this and our people started using it too…I heard this was very popular thing during those times, to protect the eyes from snow blindness.

—Trimble Gilbert, 2004

By limiting the amount of light that reaches the eyes, wooden snow goggles like this Deg Hit’an pair prevented snow blindness, a painful burning of the retinas caused by the arctic sun’s strong reflection from spring snow. They were also worn as safety glasses when making arrowheads, to protect against flying chips of stone. Pieces of bear hide, caribou skin, or birch bark with slits cut in them could also serve as snow goggles.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River (lower), Alaska
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 19cm
Accession Date: 1868
Source: W. H. Dall (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E005581