The Resurgence of Geometric-patterned Regalia on the Northern Northwest Coast

Author(s): Steve Henrikson; Janice Criswell

Year: 2017


Regalia woven using the "Chilkat" technique appeared on the northern Northwest Coast in the early 19th century, apparently replacing an older tradition of regalia decorated with geometric patterns. Only a dozen of these early robes (or archaeological fragments thereof) remain in museums. In the late 1980s, weaver and scholar Cheryl Samuel studied these survivals, documented them in great detail, and developed curriculum to teach these techniques to weavers, who since that time have created hundreds of ceremonial robes and other regalia in the geometric style--now known as "raven's tail weaving." Today, "raven's tail" regalia is worn for all manner of traditional ceremonies, alongside Chilkat robes and button blankets. This presentation will cover some of the highlights and issues surrounding the resurgence of "ravens tail," including the analysis of robe fragments recovered archaeologically, ethical issues raised by the reintroduction of a "lost" art form, and cultural appropriation, given the involvement of non-Native weavers in the repatriation of knowledge.

Cite this Record

The Resurgence of Geometric-patterned Regalia on the Northern Northwest Coast. Steve Henrikson, Janice Criswell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431458)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15474