Dentalia Shell Money: Hi-qua, Alika-chik

Dentalia shells, a mollusk, is collected from the sea floor off of Vancouver Island and is used by native peoples in a broad region of North America.  They grow up to 3 inches (or more) long for the North West Coast dentalia, while 2 inch dentalia are not uncommon and 1-1.5 inches are the most common. Tribes of the North West Coast and California used the dentalia for money, and for decorative and ceremonial artwork. The shells are tusk shaped, and when the animal dies, the tusk is hollow, which allow for easy stringing. The tusks are formed in layers … Continue reading Dentalia Shell Money: Hi-qua, Alika-chik