Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge



k’ì’ “arrow”
Language: Gwich'in

They use just a crooked knife, a sharp one…and they use it like this [scraping arrow shaft back and forth] to shave it.

—Trimble Gilbert, 2004

This iron-tipped Gwich’in arrow would have been used for large game including caribou and moose. It is fletched with hawk feathers. Elder Trimble Gilbert described how to finish an arrow by shaving small amounts of wood off one side of the shaft or another with a sharp knife until it flies in a straight line. Being able to craft a well-balanced bow complete with straight arrows was an essential skill for a hunter.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River (upper), Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: 77.5cm
Accession Date: 1892
Source: I. C. Russell (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E178645A