Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Harpoon head

kijigid juugi “head for harpoon”
Language: Haida

That same evening before it got dark they would sing to the seal because he’d been sacrificed. They would cut it up and hang it in the smoke house…

—Delores Churchill, 2005

Before firearms Haida men hunted seals using harpoons and clubs. Their main weapon was a light cedar harpoon about ten feet long, tipped with a detachable barbed point made of bone or iron. A plaited seaweed cord linked the point to the shaft so that a harpooned seal had to pull it behind as it tried to escape. Hunters’ songs honored the seals they had taken.

Culture: Haida
Region: Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Village: Masset
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 23cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: James G. Swan (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E088927