Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
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Dog pack

łeek haał leł “dog packsack”
Language: Central Koyukon

I remember we camped up on the mountain, and my father was shooting caribou there. My mom put this kind of pack on one or two dogs. She told the lead one, ‘Go where they’re shooting.‘ They went up to my father and he put all the meat in the packs and they came back themselves, back and forth to bring all the meat.

—Trimble Gilbert, 2004

Dogs had many roles in traditional Athabascan life – they ran down moose and other large game for hunters, pulled sleds and toboggans, and carried loads of meat, skins, and camping gear on their backs in skin packs. Dog packs were made of tough caribou leg skins, sewn with the fur to the outside. The shape of this Koyukon bag is a long oval, with an opening and drawstring on top. The bag was draped over a dog’s back with the load balanced on both sides, and tied securely with special knots. The tie straps are made of moose skin.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River, Alaska
Object Category: Baskets, bags, boxes
Dimensions: Length 66cm
Accession Date: 1928
Source: M. W. Pope (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 161630.000