Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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kidáalw “masher”
Language: Haida

After he had traveled hence for a while he came to house in which the Herring people were dancing….Having pushed in a young hemlock he had broken off, he drew it out. The fish eggs where thick upon it, and he ate them.

—From “Raven Traveling,” told by Walter McGregor, in “Haida Texts and Myths,” 1905

Fish eggs, or roe, are a traditional delicacy. This ridged wooden tool was used to mash up the roe of salmon, herring, and other species. Mashed eggs were mixed with water and beaten with wooden spoons into a creamy consistency, or cooked with berries and sorrel to make a thick paste that was dried into cakes. Herring eggs are collected by placing spruce or hemlock bows in the ocean shallows when the fish are spawning in spring.

Culture: Haida
Region: British Columbia, Canada
Object Category: Tools
Dimensions: Length 43cm
Accession Date: 1918
Source: Museum Purchase
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 075682.000