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Dagger and sheath

k’aawhl, k’áal “dagger, sheath”
Language: Haida

Their weapons are spears fixed to a pole 6 or 8 feet long, and a kind of short dagger, which is worn in a leather case, and tied around the body; to this dagger a leather thong is fastened…the leather is twisted around the wrist in order to fix the dagger firm in the hand, so that the warrior loses his weapon only with his life.

—George Dixon, from “Voyage Round the World,” 1788

This double-ended fighting dagger has a fluted steel blade with Raven designs worked in copper at the top of each blade. The Haida warrior dressed in wooden slat armor, visor, and carved helmet. He and his wife wore matching cedar bark belts, hers hung with a small human image that symbolized the war captives he would bring home as slaves. Men always kept the same positions in the war canoe, so that if death was coming it would not take the wrong person.

Culture: Haida
Region: Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Object Category: War
Dimensions: Length blade 60.1cm, sheath 41.5cm
Accession Date: 1904
Source: George T. Emmons (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 001817.000