Tlingit Regalia

The Inland Tlingit of Teslin trace their history to the coast of Alaska. For all Tlingit Nations, ceremonial regalia has played an important role in potlatch, dance, clan affiliation and even social hierarchy. Intricate bead patterns and colours are proprietary to certain clans. Potlatch ceremonies demanded the most intricate regalia be worn. Even the work dogs had ceremonial regalia that they would wear en route to potlatches, the designs depending on the clan of their owner.

In Teslin, there are five clans: Dakhl’awèdí (Eagle Clan), Dèshitàn (Split-tailed Beaver Clan), Yanyèdí (Wolf Clan), Ishkìtàn (Frog Clan), and Kùkhhittàn (Raven Children Clan). Here, Eagle and Raven are the two more populous clans. Each clan proudly displays their crest on their regalia. It is often sewn on the back of dance shirts; in this way, when the dancer turns their back to the audience, their crest will be noticed.

George Johnston  was part of the Yanyèdí (Wolf) Clan. Browse through the main exhibit to learn more about Tlingit cutom, clan affiliation and to admire the brilliant handiwork of the Tlingit people.


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