Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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kélaa “large dish, platter”
Language: Lingít

As a child I used to see in Klukwan when they were going to serve what they call gíks, barbecued salmon over the fire, Tlingit-style. They knew how. They can take a big king salmon and barbecue it without it falling off…When they’re going to serve the people, they used to bring it out and they’d show it. Yaat’át áyá yee xéis (This is what we have prepared you as our guests). Yaa át wooné áyá (It is honor and respect that we have for you). So that’s what this is, a salmon platter.

—Anna Katzeek, 2005

Raven is the beaked figure at one end of this feast platter, and a human face is shown on the other. Opercula shells, which are the “trapdoors” of red turban sea snails, are set around the rim. Elder Anna Katzeek indentified this dish as the kind used for serving a whole roasted salmon to guests. The wood is saturated with fish oil.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Southeast Alaska
Village: Sitka
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 92cm
Accession Date: 1914
Source: George T. Emmons (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 035028.000