Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Crest hat

shadakóox “woven hat with rings”
Language: Lingít

The rule of making a hat is still the same today as it was one hundred or two hundred years ago. The opposite clan made the hat. When the hat got through at a party [i.e., after a ku.éex’, or potlatch], then the people who owned the hat hired the opposite clan to weave those bobs on it. And it just keeps going. The rule is still in place.

—Clarence Jackson, 2005

Woven spruce-root hats are among the most sacred at.óow (crest objects). A clan leader wears one at a ku.éex’, or memorial potlatch, and the hat is displayed at his own wake and passed on to his successor. Hats also symbolize exchange between the two halves of Tlingit society; each time one is displayed the owners must make a payment to their “opposites” who are guests at the ceremony. These opposites – whether Raven or Eagle – were the original makers of the hat and, after each ku.éex’ will add a new woven cylinder to the top for its owners.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Southeast Alaska
Village: Sitka
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Diameter 25.5cm
Accession Date: 1920 (collected ca. 1890)
Source: George T. Emmons (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 098087.000