Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Objects

Grass bag

aygag^asix^ “grass basket, grass bag, carrying basket”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Attuan dialect)

The quantity of provisions which they procure by hunting and fishing being far too small for their wants, the greatest part of their food consists of sea-wrack and shell-fish, which they find on the shore.

—Russian fur merchant Ivan Solov’ev, 1764

Woven grass baskets with a loose, open weave allowed for the drainage of wet contents such as sea urchins, mussels, chitons, and seaweed. Open weave bags were also used for carrying fish, and are often called “fish baskets.” Seaweed and shellfish are important foods today as in the past, when they gave nourishment during bad weather that kept hunters from going to sea in their kayaks.

Culture: Unangax (Aleut)
Region: Attu Island, Alaska
Object Category: Baskets, bags, boxes
Dimensions: Diameter 37.0cm
Accession Date: 1932
Source: H. M. Broadbent (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E363051