Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Salmon spear head

cetugnaq “single-barbed point for fish spear”
Language: Central Yup'ik

Ukisngaluku una kuik (there was a hole in the river). Make a hole [through the ice]… Patuluni-ll’, tua paturraarluni utaqaluni. (Cover yourself, and after you cover yourself, wait.)

—John Phillip, Sr., 2002

Men speared fish through holes in the ice, covering themselves so they could peer into the water without reflections from the sky; nor could the fish look up and see them in silhouette. This two-part barbed spear head for salmon and whitefish was inserted in a long wooden shaft and tied to it through the hole in its base.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta, Alaska
Village: Chalitmut
Object Category: Fishing
Dimensions: Length: 25.0cm
Accession Date: 1879
Source: Edward W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E037349