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Beaded headdress

nacaq “headdress”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Alaska Peninsula dialect)

I’m making a headdress of white fur, blue felt, and black, white and blue beads to wear when I am Alutiiq dancing. I like this headdress because it is beautiful and useful and makes me feel connected to my culture.

—Geri Pestrikoff, 2001, from “Black Ducks and Salmon Bellies”

The beaded headdresses and jewelry that women and girls wore during the 19th century ceremonies were symbols of wealth and social position. In Prince William Sound, chiefs’ daughters dressed in bead and dentalium-shell headdresses that reached down to their ankles. This headdress has a cap of small to medium-sized beads and a long tail of heavier beads that widens at the bottom, an Alaska Peninsula style. Beaded headdresses are an important part of contemporary Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) dance regalia.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Alaska Peninsula
Village: Ugashik
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 51cm
Accession Date: 1884
Source: William J. Fisher (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E090453