Tlinget and Haida

The native American indians of the North West (Oregon, Washington, Canada, and Alaska) have their own unique customs and traditions.

They first started working with silver in the late 1700's which they used in trading. However, after the Alaskan gold rush of the late 1890's, they directed their silver working talents towards the miners and tourists.

Of course they developed their own unique style.

Most of the silver work is unmarked and only a few names of silversmiths are known.

tlinget and Haida silver spoons

A large assortment of hand worked silver spoons made by Tlinget and Haida silversmiths.

Most of these spoons were hand hammered from silver coins, but the quality of silver is not marked.

Rudolph Walton of Sitka was one of the more famous Alaskan spoon makers.

Jack and Kooska from Sitka were also well known names.

Silver Jim and Haida silversmith Charles Edenshaw are also known to have made spoons

Tlingit silver spoons were also on display at the Chicago worlds fair of 1893

tlinget haida totem pole silver spoons

One of the unique native artifacts of the Haida and Tlinget are totem poles.

These totem poles are all hand made. 

You have heard of the expression "low man on the totem pole" which we use to mean someone of lesser importance, however,

on real totem poles, the 'lowest' figure is often the most important.

eagle raven tlinget silver spoons

All members of Tlingets are born into one of two groups --either the ravens or the eagles.

When couples decide to marry, they are supposed to marry someone from the opposite group,

thus when an eagle marries a raven, they are commonly called 'love birds'.

The bottom spoon featuring an eagle and a raven  is engraved with  names and year date. This spoon is very much in the old style of silver workmanship, but the engraved date is 2001 so I am 

unsure if this is an old spoon or a modern re-creation of an old spoon.

tlinget silver salmon spoons

Two unusual spoons celebrating the importance of salmon to the local environment

tlinget haida silver spoons alaska

Various designs in  hand made silver spoons.

The hammer marks are readily apparent in some of these spoons. This style  of showing hammer marks is part of the arts and crafts culture.

potlatch spoon silver

Tiny print indicates that this spoon was made in honor of the centennial of the Alaska Purchase (1867 - 1967). This is a factory produced sterling spoon.

This spoon is also available without the little mid-handle circular identification

Return to indian spoon index

Visit the totem pole index

Visit the Alaska spoon index

Return to spoon planet exhibits index