Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
Related Media
Related Objects
 

Rattle

sasáa “rattle”
Language: Haida

The humanoid is being transformed when its tongue goes into the frog or bird; the rattle is showing a transformation that is used for healing. This type of rattle was not used for evil; it was used for good. I think we have to really emphasize that this is a healing rattle.

—Delores Churchill, 2005

This rattle shows Raven carrying the sun in his beak. On Raven’s back, a human-Ulala (Cannibal) figure extends its tongue into the beak of a crested bird, symbolizing the exchange of spiritual power between the two beings. A sparrow hawk design covers Raven’s belly. Shamans, who used these rattles in healing ceremonies, believed that healing and clairvoyant powers came from birds and animals. Chiefs carried raven rattles during ceremonies of the Haida secret societies.

Culture: Haida
Region: Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Village: Skidegate
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 35cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: James G. Swan (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E089078