From card: "Carved from black slate; well executed. The Shaman wears a mask headdress a cedar rope bandolier and a ceremonial blanket."
Comment from Graduate Student Research Paper, "A Report on Accession #42610 of the National Museum of Natural History", written by Athena Hsieh in April 2012, for the class "Anthropology in the Museum" taught by NMNH Curator, Dr. J. Daniel Rogers for the George Washington University. Approved for inclusion into notes by Dr. Igor Krupnik. Dr. Krupnik and NMNH has not verified the contents of the comment below, and suggests future researchers verify the remarks before citing Ms. Hsieh. The complete paper is attached to the accession record of this object in EMu. See Notes for catalog number E231009 for additional information on argillite. "This object, too, is carved from argillite, and may also have been a piece by Charles Edensaw, who became chief of the Sdeldás of the Eagle people (Wikipedia 2011), due to the eagle carved on the back of the figure's headdress. It is possible that this figure is not, in fact, a shaman. Rather, it is likely a representation of a chief: “When a chief died, they painted his face, put his head-dress on, his rattle in his hand, and his blanket around him...” (Swanton 1905, 54). Also in Swanton's publication were drawings of wood carvings representing shamans, all of which included a long, rod-shaped piercing through the nose (41) (See Appendix C- Illustrations from page 41 of Swanton's “Contributions to the Ethnology of the Haida.” These show examples of wooden carvings representing shamans. Notice the nose piercing in all three carvings. There is no such piercing on the argillite carving in Accession 42610.). Swanton, John R. 1905. “Contributions to the Ethnology of the Haida” in Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History 8-1. New York: G. E. Stechert. Swanton, John R. 1905. Haida Texts and Myths: Skidegate Dialect. Washington: Government Printing Office. Wikipedia. 2011. “Charles Edenshaw.” Last modified November 6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Edenshaw."