Deaf Man Mask

Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation.  Among the Mamalilikala or Village Island tribe there is a story about an Ancestor who was deaf. This story was reenacted in a winter dance and eventually became a sacred winter ceremony belonging to the descending family. As the dancer moves onto the sacred dance floor he leans to the side of his one ear and pretends to listen to the people and what they might be saying in the potlatch gathering. The dance is an important one and has been performed for many generations. It is from this story that a characteristic saying of Mamalilikala people has been passed on from generation to generation, “Mamalilikala people are real deaf”.

This project was made possible with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through Canadian Culture Online
Native Dance