Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Objects


kíihlaa “bowl”
Language: Haida

Beaver was a chief who had his room in the rear of a very beautiful house. Behind the house was a large lake, where Beaver went to play…In the lake were many salmon, and on the shores were all kinds of berries.

—From “Raven Traveling,” told by Charles Edenshaw, in “Haida Texts and Myths,” 1905

Beaver is an important Haida crest, claimed by almost all clans of the Eagle moiety (or clan group). The animal is often shown with a stick in its mouth, as on this feast bowl. In an incident from oral tradition, Raven steals the salmon-rich lake owned by a Beaver chief, rolls it up, puts it in his beak, and flies up into a tree. Beavers, bears, and wolves come to the Beaver chief’s aid, toppling the trees where Raven is perched in an effort to catch him. Raven flies away, spitting out water that becomes the Skeena, Stikine, and other rivers.

Culture: Haida
Region: British Columbia, Canada
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 18cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: James G. Swan (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E088834