Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Halibut hook

chagim ux^tax^ “halibut hook”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Eastern Aleut dialect)

Womenfolk would gather together when we bring in the fresh halibut and cut it up, and then they eat some of that raw halibut. Chuumlag^ii [eating raw halibut] we call it.

—Vlass Shabolin, 2003

Halibut are one of the most important wild foods in the Aleutian Islands. Traditional wooden hooks like this were tied to long lines made of seaweed. Stone weights held them near the ocean floor where halibut swim and feed. The line was connected on the surface to a float made from the stomach of a seal or the bladder of a sea lion. When the float went under it was a signal that a fish was on the other end of the line.

Culture: Unangax (Aleut)
Region: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Village: Unalaska
Object Category: Fishing
Dimensions: Length 33.5cm
Accession Date: 1861
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E398275