Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Throwing board

haasxux^ “throwing board”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Eastern Aleut dialect)

So your spear is there and if it’s a long one you hang on to it and then flip it and then the force from here [the throwing board] is speeding through your spear to the animal.

—Vlass Shabolin, 2003

A throwing board was used for launching sea otter, seal, and bird darts (spears). The dart rested in a groove on the board’s upper side, hooked on its end by an ivory peg and held in place by the hunter’s forefinger. During the throw the dart lifted and shot forward, with the board catapulting it from behind. One side of the board is painted red, to attract sea otters; the other is black, representing the animal’s fur. When a hunter struck an otter he held the board high to signal his success to others in the hunt.

Culture: Unangax (Aleut)
Region: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 49cm
Source: US Fish Commission (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 020373.000