This print of an oil painting by Kodiak artist Bruce Nelson, titled Alaska Native Tribute. This print shows a halibut approaching an Alutiiq-style halibut hook on the sea floor. The original painting, as well as the real-life halibut hook, are owned by the Alutiiq Museum.
Painted in the autumn of 2008, Alaska Native Tribute shows a halibut approaching a baited hook resting on the sea floor. From the use of a grooved cobble anchor, to the orientation of the hook in the water, the use of squid bait, and the way the line is secured to the anchor with a slipknot, the hook appears in ethnographically accurate detail. This image provides a beautiful summary of Alutiiq halibut fishing technology - illustrating hook, line and weight in use, in the environment in which they were used, and with the prey they effectively harvested.
Nelson’s depiction reflects careful research.
He visited the Alutiiq Museumâ™s collections in the summer of 2008 to study Alutiiq fishing gear and consult staff about halibut hooks. At the museum, he also studied a rare, wooden, historic hook, in the Alutiiq Museumâ™s permanent collection. Collected in Old Harbor in the 1950s, this hook is made of spruce, yellow cedar, cotton or hemp rope, and a square cut iron nail. It features carvings of a halibut with a bird on its back, and appears to be over 100 years old.