Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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aŋuun “paddle”
Language: Bering Strait Iñupiaq

Some prefer a double paddle. But most of them prefer a single…because it’s easier to put away than the double ones if you’re in a hurry. But on a long stretch of water if you’re not hunting, that double works faster.

—Jacob Ahwinona, 2001

This light, beautifully painted King Island kayak paddle has a T-shaped grip typical of Alaskan designs. Black and white baleen bands encircle the handle. Double paddles were used for long distance travel, fast pursuit, or racing. Kayakers carried spare paddles and weapons on the deck, tucked under holding straps.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: King Island, Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length: 160.5cm
Accession Date: 1887
Source: Michael A. Healy (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E129577