Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Hunting hat

awirnaq “spruce root hat”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Kodiak Island dialect)

Their hats are woven very skillfully and stoutly of fir-roots, with wide brims and a low crown slightly pointed at the top, and they are decorated with various designs.

—Gavriil Davydov, from “Two Voyages to Russian America, 1802-1807”

A creature with oval eyes, erect ears, and a toothy mouth is painted on the crown of this spruce-root hunting hat, probably representing a helping spirit that attracted sea otters. The hat is ornamented with glass trade beads, dentalium shells, sea lion whiskers, and red cloth. Hunting hats were valuable family heirlooms, passed down through the generations.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Kodiak Island, Alaska
Village: Karluk
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 40cm
Accession Date: 1884
Source: William J. Fisher (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E074720