Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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tayarnerutak “pair of bracelets”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Alaska Peninsula dialect)

Some of them would go into a trance and then tell the people what was going to happen – [they would] foresee the future.

—Sven Haakanson, Sr., 1987, from the Alutiiq Museum oral history archive

Sugpiaq shamans claimed powers to heal the sick, quell storms, read minds, change into animals, fly through the air, and see into the future. These shaman’s charm bracelets are made from the noses of land otters, an animal whose spirit shamans summoned to assist in their work. Each otter wears an ivory or bone nose pin. Beach pebbles with natural, water-worn holes are attached to the bracelets.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Alaska Peninsula
Village: Ugashik
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Diameter 7cm
Accession Date: 1887
Source: William J. Fisher (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E127803