Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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seiik dáakeit “tobacco pipe”
Language: Lingít

Raven also showed the Chilkat people the first seeds of the Indian tobacco and taught them to plant it. After it was grown up, he gathered clam shells, roasted them until they were very soft, and pounded them up with the tobacco.

—From “Raven,” told by Katishan, in “Tlingit Myths and Texts,” 1909

From ancient times the Tlingit cultivated indigenous tobacco. They ground it in stone mortars, mixed it with wood ash and lime, and worked it into spruce gum pellets to place between gum and cheek. After Western contact Tlingit carvers made crest pipes for smoking imported tobacco. This pipe depicts a bear on one end and on the other an eagle transferring spiritual power to a person through its tongue; both animals are symbols of the Kaagwaantaan, an Eagle clan. The bowl is a section of gun barrel.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Southeast Alaska
Village: Sitka
Object Category: Homes
Dimensions: Length 20cm
Accession Date: 1972
Source: Helen R. Strong (donor)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 247215.000