Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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deghotleye “awl”
Language: Koyukon (Upper, Central & Lower)

You make a hole and then you put your string through it. Deghotleye (awl) – that was a very important tool.

—Eliza Jones, 2004

The awl is an essential tool for traditional arts, used to perforate animal skins and birch bark and to drill holes in wood for lashing together sleds and webbing snowshoes. To sew a seam, a woman traditionally pierced both pieces of skin with an awl then laced sinew thread through the holes. This Koyukon awl is tipped with a sharpened iron nail, while older points were made of bone.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River, Alaska
Village: Nulato
Object Category: Tools
Dimensions: Length 15cm
Accession Date: 1878
Source: E. W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E033054