Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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nołchidl “bag”
Language: Deg Xinag

One day her mother told her to bring a bag that was in the cache…In it was king salmon skins… Her mother took those skins out and she very carefully scraped the tissue off the inside and she wet it a little bit and let it sit, and then when it had soaked she tanned it a little bit and she made a pair of boots.

—Eliza Jones, 2004

Salmon skins can be scraped, tanned, and sewn together to make waterproof boots, mittens, and bags. Fishskin bags in various sizes were traditionally used to store clothing and foods such as fish eggs and salmon oil. On this Deg Hit’an bag, the scaly sides of the skins face outward except for several strips that are turned inward and painted brown. These colored sections are ornamented with caribou hair stitching and tufts of hair.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta, Alaska
Village: Big Lake
Object Category: Baskets, bags, boxes
Dimensions: Length 29.5cm
Accession Date: 1879
Source: Edward W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E036181