Ancestor Mask

Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation UCC – 80.01.17 The Imas is the symbolic representation of a high-ranked person who has passed on and returns one last time at a memorial potlatch to pass on the rights and privileges of the deceased. Only nobility has the right to show this sacred ceremony. The Imas that appears is the first ancestral being that appeared after the Great Flood. When the Imas enters into the Bighouse, the attendants would spread mountain goat furs on the floor for the Imas to step on. Afterwards, they would give the mountain goat furs to the Chiefs, one pelt each. The Imas dances in as the singers softly sing. If the deceased was a Hamat’sa in life, he would return as a Hamat?sa. The speaker announces that he is the same in death as he was in life. The attendants announce that the person has come back to see his family just one more time – that he is the same during death as he was in life, referring to his supernatural side. This ceremony is very sacred and wasn’t seen often in earlier times.