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Artifact Archive: Fish Hooks


Tlingit halibut hooks are fashioned from two types of wood to form a "V" shape. Cedar, one of the woods used, has an odor the fish are supposedly attracted to. A carved wooden float attached with kelp, red cedar fiber or braided sinew designates where the hook lays. The carving faces the ocean floor, luring the halibut's spirit by showing respect. Traditionally, fishermen would instruct the hook to catch fish. Studies have shown the hook design spares juveniles and prolific breeders--a prime example of traditional ecological knowledge. Over time, the lower arm of the hook shows wear by the...

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