Deer Hoof Rattle

Created by Kari Brookover using deer hooves, this rattle is modeled off of traditional puffin beak rattles in the Chugach region.

Hoop rattles were used by dancers and shamans throughout much of Alaska and the Northwest Coast. Many traditional Sugpiaq spiritual ceremonies centered around shamans singing, drumming, whistling, and shaking rattles to interact with the spirit world. Rattles were created out of wooden frames and sinew cords, and could be hung with beaks, hooves, claws, and shells. The wooden hoops of the rattle are said to represent the Supiaq multi-layered understanding of the universe, as well as symbolize the passageways between the earth, sea, and sky worlds. Russian explorers described hunters shaking their rattles in harmony with music while singing in groups. Puffin beaks might have been the most common material in hoop rattles for the Chugach region, however due to environmental protections for puffin populations, this rattle was made with deer hooves instead. 

Crowell, Aron L. Amy F. Steffian, and Gordon L. Pullar, Looking Both Ways: Heritage and Identity of the Alutiiq People. Fairbanks: Univ. of Alaska Press, 2001. Pg 190

Alutiiq Museum Archaeological Repository, Rattle. 2020,