Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge



samanaq “charm”
Язык: Koniag Sugpiaq (Alaska Peninsula dialect)

They had good luck charms…There was a little sea otter in there. A baby sea otter [dried embryo]. And the guy told me, ‘That’s for our good luck. We put that up on a kayak, and pretty soon we find a sea otter.‘

—Larry Matfay, 1986, from the Alutiiq Museum oral history archive

According to oral tradition, a man who was collecting shellfish was surprised by the in-rushing tide; to save himself he cried out, “I wish I might turn into a sea otter!” His wish was granted, which is why, it is said, the internal organs of a man and a sea otter look the same. This ivory hunting charm was fastened inside the cockpit of a kayak. The otter’s ribs and spine are shown, perhaps because an otter’s soul was believed to reside in its skeleton. Its bones were returned to the sea so a new otter could be born.

Культура: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Регион: Probably Alaska Peninsula
Категрия предмета: Hunting
Размеры: Length 7cm (left), 10cm (right)
Дата поступления: 1894
Источник: William J. Fisher (collector)
Музей: Национальный музей естественной истории
Идентификационный номер музея: E168626A