Fish Spear

Fish Spear

Wooden fish spear with bone point and barbs

The handle is a wooden pole with a leather thong at the end. Two pieces of wood with a 45 degree angle curve, and a notch at one end, are nailed to the handle to form a "Y". A bone point is lashed to the handle with babiche (strips of semi-tanned hide) and two nails on either side of it prevent side to side movement. This is positioned in the centre of the "Y" and extends just beyond the midway point. Two smaller bone points are set in the notches of the "Y" and lashed in place with babiche. These are directed to the centre almost touching the larger spear and act as barbs.

The three-pronged spear was used year round but was especially useful when ice fishing. A middle bone prong extends from the spear toward the water while two side arms support the facing prongs. When a fish is speared from overhead the arms flair out and pierce the sides of the fish.

The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in set up fish camps at the confluence of the Klondike and the Yukon Rivers. This was an important summer gathering spot. The king salmon would travel miles from the pacific up into the Klondike, one of their ancient spawning grounds. The Natives would catch many fish and then dry them at the camp. This traditional camp ground called Tr'ochëk was located directly across from what would become Dawson City. Many miners took up residence at Tr'ochëk during the Klondike Gold Rush. This area was taken over by miners and became known as Lousetown. For the most part Lousetown (properly named Klondike City) was where the less desirable contingent took up residence.

Institution

Dawson City Museum, Dawson City

Accession Number

1978.1.751