Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Objects

Fire bag

viqizdluyi “in it are things”
Language: Dena’ina (Inland dialect)

So they keep sharing fire with each other, and this is the way they keep the fire going for thousands of years.

—Trimble Gilbert, 2004

One of a man’s essential items was a small “fire bag” to hold chert and steel for striking sparks and tinder such as wood shavings and powered birch fungus. This fire bag – probably from the Dena’ina people – is made of tanned leather with a red wool strap, ornamented with white dentalium shells and with red and blue faceted glass beads. Dentalium shells from the Northwest Coast were a prized trade item among Athabascan peoples, and their use on this bag may indicate wealth and status. It would have been worn on important occasions such as a potlatch.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Alaska
Object Category: Clothing
Dimensions: Length 67cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: Charles L. McKay (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E073048