Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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tayag^um saliguu “man’s cap”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Eastern Aleut and Atkan dialects)

Consequently when the Aleuts saw the first Russians, who covered their heads, they called them, before any other name, saligungin, that is one having caps or hats.

—Ivan Veniaminov, from “Notes on the Islands of the Unalashka District,” 1834

Before contact with the Russians, Aleutian Islanders went bareheaded except for wooden hunting hats and visors that the men wore at sea and skin caps that both women and men put on for dances and celebrations. In later years, homemade Russian-style caps became popular. This man’s hat is made of stiff leather embroidered with caribou hair, cotton thread, dyed yarn, fox fur, and strips of colored seal esophagus. It is painted with a sparkling black pigment, probably a traditional mix of volcanic minerals and octopus bile.

Culture: Unangax (Aleut)
Region: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 23.5cm
Accession Date: 1868
Source: F. Bischoff
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E006555