Dentalium shells, sinew, beads, wool cloth; L 86.5 cm
Susitna Station, c. 1902
This dentalium necklace was used by a qeshqa (the traditional leader) at potlatches as part of the dancing outfit. The earliest known owner of this particular necklace was Big Chilligan. It was potlatched to Simeon Chickalusion in 1930 and to Shem Pete in 1957. Dentalium, or k’enq’ena, are the shells of a mollusk that were traded through tribes all along the northwest coast of North America as a form of wealth.
Collection: Anchorage Museum, 1978.035.002
Image: © Chris Arend/Anchorage Museum