Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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saygix^ “bow”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Eastern Aleut dialect)

Also called:
uliidax^ “bow”
Language: Unangam Tunuu (Eastern Aleut dialect)

When [my father] ran out of [shotgun shells] he used a little bow and arrow like that, “just for emergencies,” he used to say.

—Mary Bourdukofsky, 2003

Some early Western observers in the Aleutian Islands, such as Tolstykh in 1764 and Merck in 1790, believed that the bow and arrow were unknown to the people and that all hunting was done with darts and harpoons. Others, such as Cook in 1778 and Veniaminov in 1823-34, observed that bows were used for hunting land animals and birds, as well as for warfare. Elders remember that wooden bows like this one, reinforced with sinew, were occasionally used even in the 20th century for bird hunting.

Culture: Unangax (Aleut)
Region: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 130cm
Accession Date: 1943
Source: Mrs. Joseph Stanley-Brown (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E383196