Much of their food came from the forests and rivers. Trees were a major resource for the Kwakiutl. The Kwakiutl hunted in both the rivers and the forests. They ate beaver, deer, rabbit, and fish.
Like the Inuit the Kwakiutl did no farming, but unlike the Inuit they had lots of food available. The area they inhabited was very rich in natural resources the Indians could use to survive. Their main source of meat was caribou. To get salt for their food, the women gathered seaweed.
The Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw (IPA: [ˈkʷakʷəkʲəʔwakʷ]), also known as the Kwakiutl (/ˈkwɑːkjʊtəl/; “Kwakʼwala-speaking peoples”) are Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Their current population, according to a 2016 census, is 3,665.
The Kwakiutl lived in coastal villages lying close to the shoreline. Each of their rectangular house had a totem pole on the front, a heavy timber frame and were made of cedar planks, and roofs were made of wood bark.
The Kwakiutl believed that each living thing, whether plant or animal, had its own spirit. Animals did not mind being caught and eaten because they could return to the spirit world and take on a new body. Hunters showed great respect to the animal spirits.
What was Kwakiutl transportation like in the days before cars? Yes–the Kwakiutl Indian tribe made large dugout canoes by hollowing out cedar logs. The Kwakiutl tribe used these canoes to travel up and down the sea coast for trading, fishing and hunting, and warfare.
Their name for themselves means “those who speak Kwakwala.” Although the name Kwakiutl is often applied to all the peoples of that group, it is the name of only one band of Kwakwaka’wakw.
Masks are highly valued by the Kwakiutl, serving as potent manifestations of ancestral spirits and supernatural beings and offering these supernatural entities temporary embodiment and communication through dance and other kinds of performance (Greenville 1998: 14).
The Kwakiutl people’s history in the region reaches far back–these Native Americans have been living in the Pacific Northwest for around 9,000 years.
The beings that make up Kwakiutl mythology are remarkably diverse. Many contemporary Kwakiutl identify themselves as Christians but incorporate traditional mythology into their faith, freely blending elements of Christian and indigenous religion.
In general, the 1850s and 1860s were terrible years for the Kwakiutl, marked as they were by the destruction of several villages by the British Navy and Bella Coola raiders as well as smallpox epidemics.
The Kwakwaka ‘ wakw peoples are traditional inhabitants of the coastal areas of northeastern Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia. The name Kwakwaka ‘ wakw means those who speak Kwak’wala, which itself includes five dialects. (See also Northwest Coast Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)
Kwakiutl artists are known for their fine basketry and woodcarving arts, including wooden masks and totem carvings.
Today, there are over five million Native Americans in the United States, 78% of whom live outside reservations: California, Arizona and Oklahoma have the largest populations of Native Americans in the United States. Most Native Americans live in small-town or rural areas.
Kwakiutl on the west coast of Vancouver Island, however, are reported to have hunted whale . Inuit are reported to have used a simple harpoon with a head that remained in the whale, a line connected to the head, and floats and anchors made of wood and sealskin or deerskin attached.