Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Media

Ice scratcher

kumiġaun “scratcher”
Language: Qawiaraq Iñupiaq

Also called:
sikunun kumiġaun “ice scratcher”
Language: Qawiaraq Iñupiaq

Also called:
seal call

You scratch with it, once in awhile. The seal comes up close. You wait for the seal to come close before you shoot.

—Oscar Koutchak, 2001

Seals are comforted and attracted by the sound of another seal scratching the ice, which this tool imitates. Hunters used it when stalking seals on the frozen ocean, or to lure swimming animals within range.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Norton Sound, Alaska
Village: Unalakleet
Object Category: Hunting
Object Type: Ice scratcher
Dimensions: Length 30cm
Accession Date: 1878
Source: E. W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E033143