Dance shirts were made with crests representing the house or matrilineage of their people. Elders wore dance shirts while singing and dancing at potlatches. Elders would dance or sing the stories of their matrilineal house to tell others of the special history of their house and how they came to have special ties to the animal or spirit power represented in the crest.
This Tlingit dance shirt represents the Raven house, in the southern part of the Yukon. Southern Yukon typically had larger and more elaborate clan systems like that of British Columbia and Coastal Alaska. The crests of the Tlingit represented an extended family group. They were usually represented by animals such as the crow, beaver, whale, eagle, bear, and so on. The larger more significant clan or moiety system encompasses the family crest system in which each Tlingit is identified as Crow or Wolf within the crest system.
George Johnston Museum, Teslin