Tsimshian Fish Hook

A fisherman would lash a barb to one arm of the hook and traditionally carved a “spirit helper” into the other arm to provide supernatural assistance.

Written by Mark McAvoy

October 3, 2012

Fishing Hook

The Tsimshian, who lived along the northern coast of British Columbia, caught halibut by setting large V-shaped hooks on the bottom of fishing banks. Usually, the hooks were made of wood, bone, and spruce root. A fisherman would lash a barb to one arm of the hook and traditionally carved a “spirit helper” into the other arm to provide supernatural assistance. This example has twine threaded through the centre of what looks like a sea lion.


 

This article originally appeared in the October, November 2012 issue of Canada’s History magazine. 

This article is also available in French.

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