Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Net float

Puktaun “float, buoy”
Language: Qawiaraq Iñupiaq

These nets – normally around Barrow we use them during the fall time, when these catch the young seals that are coming around Point Barrow.

—Ronald Brower, Sr., 2002

This wooden float for a seal net is in the shape of a seal’s head, with large blue beads to represent its eyes and caribou hair inserted to show the bristles on its muzzle. Nets are strung under the sea ice or in open water leads where seals are swimming. Wooden floats support the nets and also serve as hunting charms, to draw the animals near.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Norton Sound, Alaska
Village: Nome
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 13cm
Accession Date: 1880
Source: Edward W. Nelson (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E044142