Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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at xáshdi téel “moccasins”
Language: Lingít

And maybe even though they knew each other, there was a little ceremony before they got together and they asked each other “Who are you? Where did you come from? Who is your clan?” even though they knew it. Then they would put down in the middle, put it down [trade goods] and then one of the groups would have a dance…They did a lot of long-range trading, those people.

—Clarence Jackson, 2005, about meetings between Tlingit and Athabascan traders

The style of beading on these dancing moccasins as well as their shape – including high wool cloth cuffs and squared-off toes – indicate that they were probably made by a Tahltan Athabasan or Interior Tlingit artist. However, Herbert G. Ogden of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey purchased them at the coastal Tlingit village of Klukwan before 1895, a reminder of the extensive Tlingit trade with interior peoples that took place through Klukwan and the Chilkat River valley. Tlingit leaders dressed in Athabascan caribou-skin clothing and moccasins, and coastal clans adopted songs and dances from their interior trading partners.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River (upper), Alaska
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 29cm
Accession Date: 1895
Source: Herbert G. Ogden (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E175230