Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
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Helmet

gaayhldáa dajangáay “helmet”
Language: Haida

When daylight came and people knew that he had smashed the canoe they all moved at once. They put on their armor to fight one another. After they had put on their gorgets, helmets, and hide coats they went out to fight one another with spears and bows.

—Moses McKay, from “Fight at the Town of Da’x.ua,” in “Haida Myths and Texts,” 1905

An eagle’s head and wings give form to this battle helmet, on which a round-eyed spirit peers out from beneath the beak. The helmet was formerly owned by Chief Duncan Ginaawaan at Klinkwan. A Haida fighter dressed for battle in a helmet, wooden visor for his face and neck, a vest and lower body armor made of tightly bound wooden slats or rods, and a thick leather tunic. His weapons were a dagger, club, bow, or spear and in later times a musket or rifle. Haida chiefs traditionally warred against the Tsimshian, Nisga’a, Bella Bella, Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), and southern Tlingit as well as unallied villages in their own region.

Culture: Haida
Region: Prince of Wales Island, Southeast Alaska
Village: Klinkwan
Object Category: War
Dimensions: Length 34cm
Accession Date: 1876
Source: James G. Swan (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E020883