Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 

Dart

nagiiquyaq “spear used with a throwing board”
Language: Central Yup'ik

Kuigni taugaam atulallruit malirqaqaameng augkuni river, angtuani. Unani-ll’ imarpigmi-ll’ atulaqait. (They would use these on larger rivers when they pursued game. They also used them in the ocean.)

—John Phillip, Sr., 2002

The seal dart is a sophisticated tool. Feathers stabilize it in flight, like an arrow. The barbed point fits into a bone or ivory socket piece that adds weight for longer throws and increases the impact of a strike, punching the point through skin, blubber, and bone. Once inside the seal the point disconnects but remains tied to the dart, which floats above and reveals the animal’s location. Some hunters on the lower Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers still use this method because seals shot with a gun can easily sink and be lost, especially in fresh water.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Nunivak Island, Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 121cm
Accession Date: 1874
Source: W. H. Dall (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E015677