Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge



ts’eh nedenaałt’onee “beaded hat”
Language: Koyukon (Upper, Central & Lower)

The checkerboard – it’s an old-time design… I saw a lot of patterns like this on the older clothing – patterns or diamonds.

—Eliza Jones, 2004

“Tin hats” are beaded velvet caps with birch bark sewn inside for stiffening. They were the Athabascan version of men’s Victorian-era “smoking hats” that Scotch fur traders wore and which were pictured in popular magazines of the late 19th century. Shiny metal beads were often used, giving rise to the “tin” part of the name. Elders commented that the checkerboard medallion seen on this 1880s Koyukon hat represents a geometric style of beading that is no longer popular.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River Alaska
Village: Nulato
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 18cm
Accession Date: 1887
Source: E. W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E129336