Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Objects

Harpoon head

cingia “harpoon head”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Alaska Peninsula dialect)

When the kayak was still in use we had rifles and harpoons. A fat seal would always float, but we had to use the harpoon for seals which had only been wounded by the bullets. The harpoon was attached to a line which in turn was connected to an air bladder…

—Innokenti Inga, 1962, from the Alutiiq Museum oral history archives

This heavy harpoon head for killing sea lions is made of bone with a slate blade and a wooden foreshaft; the whole assembly fit on the end of a harpoon. The keeper-ring of twisted bark slipped over the back end of the harpoon head to hold it straight until the harpooner made his strike.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Probably Alaska Peninsula
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 25cm
Accession Date: 1894
Source: William J. Fisher (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E168625