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Amulet

ha’dsanaash “amulet”
Language: Tsimshian

A chief was very sick and his sub-chiefs called in shamans from all over, but no one could help him. Finally a great shaman arrived; he looked around the longhouse where everyone was waiting and assessed the situation. He knew that if he was not successful they might kill him and find somebody else. So the first thing he said was, “You called me too late, but I’ll do my best!”

—David Boxley, 2009

The amulet portrays the story of Gunarhnesemgyet, whose wife is abducted by a white killer whale. As the whale speeds away from the village she shouts, “My people, come for me!” Gunarhnesemgyet follows in his canoe and eventually rescues her from the whale with the help of cormorants and the whale’s servant, Gitsaedzan.

Culture: Tsimshian
Region: British Columbia, Canada
Village: Port Simpson
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 19.5cm
Accession Date: 1870
Source: Franklin M. Ring (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E009813A