An Aboriginal Presence

Our Origins

Wealth of Stories - Transforming Beings

In the narratives told by Aboriginal peoples of the Pacific Coast, supernatural beings take the form of animals, birds or fish in the human world. But in their own villages, these beings live as humans. Many stories tell of the encounters between humans and animal/supernatural beings, and these stories are brought to life in masks and dance. In some cases, the stories and the masks have both been preserved together. In other cases, only the mask remains.

Stories, and the right to tell them, are passed down in families from one generation to another. As the mask that represents the story goes out of use, a new mask may be made to take its place. The story endures.

Mask - VII-B-20 - CD94-673-007
Transformation Mask
Nuxalk or Heiltsuk
British Columbia
About 1865
Wood, metal, hair, cotton, paint and resin
Canadian Museum of Civilization, VII-B-20, CD94-673-007, CD94-673-008

Mask - VII-B-20 - CD94-673-008

See also:
Kwakwaka'wakw tranformation mask
Haida transformation mask

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