Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
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Gun case

dink’ee dhah “gun case”
Language: Gwich'in

Wow, how beautiful! …Sometimes they make a really fancy gun case and give it as a gift at a potlatch. Then you would use it like a wall hanging; it’s not for practical use. It’s treasured the way you would treasure a picture.

—Eliza Jones, 2004

Muzzle-loading muskets and later rifles and shotguns were among the most valued items obtained through trade with the Hudson’s Bay Company. Men took great pride in their weapons and carried them in custom-made cases even when out on the trail. Elders thought that this fancy Gwich’in fringed and beaded moose-hide case was probably made as a potlatch gift rather than for everyday use. The flower, leaf, and star designs are worked entirely in expensive brass and steel beads (“steelies”), and the artist added tassels of red yarn, strung with blue glass beads.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River (upper), Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 120cm
Accession Date: 1928
Source: M. W. Pope (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 161632.000