Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Mourning arm bands

I’ve heard of arm bands – they wore them during the ceremony.

—Eliza Jones, 2004

“Hoops of birch wood around the neck and wrists, with various patterns and figures cut on them” were Koyukon emblems of mourning for the dead, according the Smithsonian collector, William H. Dall, who purchased this pair along the Yukon River in 1868. The hoops are engraved with images of caribou and decorated with Russian-period trade beads. A set of caribou teeth hangs from one of the hoops.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River, Alaska
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 13cm
Accession Date: 1868
Source: William H. Dall (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E008809