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Encyclopedia > Kwakiutl mythology

The Kwakiutl are a Canadian tribe of Native Americans.


Tsonoqwa (Tsonokwa) is a type of cannibal giant called Geekumhl and comes in both male and female forms. The female form is the most common; she eats children and cries "hu-hu!" to attract them, as well as offering candy and treasure. Children frequently outwit her and take her treasures without being eaten.


Kewkwaxa'we is the raven spirit, who brought the Kawkiutl people the moon, fire, salmon, the sun and the tides.


Of particular importance in Kwakiutl culture is the secret society called Hamatsa. During the winter, there is a four-day, complex dance that serves to iniate new members of Hamatsa. Some of the dancers represent various spirits, including Bakbakwalanooksiwae ("cannibal at the north end of the world"; he is actually invisible and each dancer represents a mouth). The initiates are possessed by Bakbakwalanooksiwae on the first day of the ceremony and wanders into the woods until the end. When the initiate returns, he enacts a cannibalistic experience symbolically. Kwakwakalanooksiwae is the most prestigious role in the ceremony; he is a cannibalistic raven monster. Galokwudzuwis ("crooked beak of heaven") and Hokhokw (cannibalistic bird who crushes skulls) are other participants.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Kwakiutl/Kwakwaka'wakw (570 words)
The mask is a representation of Hamatsa, a personification of the Man-Eater Bakhwbakwalanooksiwey, a spirit in Kwakiutl mythology.
The Kwakiutl occupied the northern corner of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, from Johnstone Strait to Cape Cook, and the mainland coast from Douglas Channel to Bute Inlet, except a small portion controlled by the Bella Coola.
The material culture of coastal tribes such as the Kwakiutl hinged on the shoals of salmon that ascended the creeks and rivers each year, and on the abundant stands of free-grained cedar trees.
Kwakiutl mythology (201 words)
The Kwakiutl are a tribe of Native Americans in the northwestern United States.
Kewkwaxa'we[?] is the raven spirit, who brought the Kawkiutl people the moon, fire, salmon, the sun and the tides.
Of particular importance in Kwakiutl culture is the secret society called Hamatsa[?].
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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