Women would make short skirts for themselves out of cedar bark, while Kwakiutl men usually wore nothing at all, though some would wear loincloths. In the winter, both men and women layered up–they would wear moccasins on their feet and long shirts and cloaks made of bark and deer skin.
The Kwakiutl made clothing from the bark of trees. They also made rain capes and coats from animal skins. From the abundant forests of cedar and redwood trees, the Kwakiutl built houses called plank houses, or clan houses.
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 ate fish (mostly salmon), bear, caribou, deer, elk, moose, clams, berries, seal, sea lions, whales, and other assorted sea critters. Kwakiutl art was totem poles and copper jewelry.
The name Kwakiutl derives from Kwaguʼł—the name of a single community of Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw located at Fort Rupert. The anthropologist Franz Boas had done most of his anthropological work in this area and popularized the term for both this nation and the collective as a whole.
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.
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.
But they did have dolls, toys and games to play. Like many Native Americans, Kwakiutl mothers traditionally carried their babies in cradleboards on their backs.
Kwakiutl artists are known for their fine basketry and woodcarving arts, including wooden masks and totem carvings.
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.)
While very little seems to be known about the original masks and how they were used, one artist, Shawn Hunt, wanted to recreate a mask with the assistance of modern technology. Transformation Mask, a 3D-printed, meter-long replica of the Raven was released in 2018 with the help of Microsoft Vancouver.
History. As part of a policy of assimilation, the federal government banned the potlatch from 1884 to 1951 in an amendment to the Indian Act. The government and its supporters saw the ceremony as anti-Christian, reckless and wasteful of personal property.
The fish American Indians caught, wild animals they hunted, and crops they grew were examples of natural resources. People who fished, made clothing, and hunted animals were examples of human resources. The canoes, bows, and spears American Indians made were examples of capital resources.
The Kwakiutl lived in what is now British Columbia and Northeast Vancouver Island. The climate in British Columbia at the time was very humid with rain and mild. The land was covered with evergreen cedar forests and hills, making wildlife plentiful in the area.
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.