Shark teeth are commonly found in mortuary and ritual contexts throughout the Northeast. On the Maritime Peninsula, shark teeth have been identified in mortuary assemblages spanning the Late Archaic through to the Late Woodland periods (ca. 5000 B.P. to 950 B.P.). Beyond the Maritime Peninsula, shark teeth have been recovered from Woodland period contexts ranging from Chesapeake Bay to the Ohio River. Amerindian perspectivism, or cosmológical deixis, provides a framework for understanding the relationship between humans and animals in hunter-gatherer societies. To explore this relationship, we examine engagements between sharks and humans over a period of 5,000 years, within a socioeconomic perspective. We postulate that shark teeth in mortuary contexts were complex, entangled objects that were both mnemonics and instruments. All at the same time, shark teeth were (1) an emblem of a real creature with spectacular predatory abilities, (2) an icon of transformational and spiritual power, (3) a symbol of a society’s maritime way of life, and (4) a tool–a conduit through which a person could gain access to supernatural abilities. When shark teeth were exchanged, all of these properties may have been transferred, suggesting that reinforcing relationships between societies conducting the exchange was as important as gaining access to the supernatural powers of the teeth.