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The U'mista Collections


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*Not all masks are on display in the U'mista Gallery.

Atlakima Kukwadisila (Mask of Harry Mountain)

Atlakima Kukwadisila (Mask of Harry Mountain)
Imitator Mask

Atłak̕ima "Dance of the Forest Spirits"

The Atłak̕ima is a special dance of the forest spirits. The dance came from a dramatic story about a young ‘Nak̕waxda’xw boy who was mistreated by his father and one day slipped into the woods to commit suicide. He decided instead to purify himself and seek supernatural power. As he traveled northward along the valleys he bathed each morning and night for four days. Then he dreamed of a supernatural person who instructed him to continue to purify himself. When he was finally ready, he was called into a great dance house whose entrance was under moss. From the supernatural beings in the house he received the Atłak̕ima with its forty masks, its songs and the house itself. Then the house and all its contents were magically transported to the village that he chose of his mother’s people, the Awik̕inuxw of Rivers Inlet, who learned the ceremony by listening to the spirits as they sang and danced.

"Smoky-Top The Art and Times of Willie Seaweed", by Bill Holm.





The Atłak̕ima beings are the spirits of the woods; the "Grouse" and the "Spruce" are the callers. Some of the characters include:
  • "Stump of the Woods"
  • "Laughing Woman of the Woods"
  • "Cannibal of the Woods"
  • "Dancer of the House"
  • "Raven of the Woods"
  • "Long Life Maker"
  • "Heat of the House"
  • "One Side Moss in the Woods"
  • "One Side Rock in the Woods"
  • "Frog Woman"
  • "Crooked-Beak of Heaven"
  • "Huxwhukw of Heaven"
  • "Rich Woman"
  • "Woman Giving Birth"
  • "Midwife"
  • "Twin Children"
  • "Salmonberry Woman"
  • "Sparrow Woman"
  • "Salmon Spirit"
  • "Listener"
  • "Sprinkler"
  • "Mountain Goat Hunter"
  • "Tying Woman"
  • "Dust in the House Woman"
  • "Helper in the House"
  • "Door Keeper of the Woods"
  • "Partridge Woman"
  • "Thrush"
  • "Owl"
  • "Raindrop Maker"
  • "Answering Woman"
  • "Walking Behind the Mountain Woman"
  • "Sneezer"
  • Adapted from: "Art of the Kwagu’ł Indians", by Audrey Hawthorn.



    The Atłak̕ima masks in the collection are listed as belonging to Harry Mountain: UCC-80.01.19 UCC-80.01.031 UCC-80.01.032 UCC-80.01.134 UCC-88.06.001 UCC-88.06.002 UCC-88.06.003 UCC-88.06.004 UCC-88.06.005 UCC-88.06.006 UCC-88.06.007

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