Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Emergence of Rare Tlingit War Helmet Raises a Chorus for Homecoming

Alaska Dispatch
by Laurel Andrews, January 7, 2014

"Tribal leaders are hoping a rare Tlingit war helmet that sat mislabeled in museum archives in western Massachusetts for more than 100 years will be returned to Southeast Alaska now that the artifact, considered a sacred object, has been brought to light.
The helmet, uncovered this autumn in the Springfield Science Museum archives, was put on display in late December. Records show that the object was accepted into the museum’s collections around the turn of the 20th century, spokesperson Matt Longhi said. The helmet was logged into museum archives simply, and incorrectly, as “Aleutian hat.”
But after scrutiny by curator of anthropology Dr. Ellen Savulis, and with coordination with the Alaska State Museum, the helmet was quickly identified as a rare Tlingit war helmet.
The helmet is one of less than 100 known in existence today, said Alaska State Museum curator of collections Steve Henrikson. It’s likely from the early to mid-1800s, and was intended for use in battle by Tlingit warriors. Only three or four of those helmets remain in Alaska today, Henrikson said."
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