Kwakiutl Midwinter Ceremony

Kwakiutl Midwinter Ceremony

November through February
The Kwakiutl are one of the Indian tribes who inhabit the northwestern coast of the United States, stretching from northern California to southeastern Alaska. They believe that long ago, before their people even existed, powerful supernatural animals—including bears, wolves, seals, ravens, bees, owls, and killer whales—held dominion over the world. These beings endowed early humans, who were the ancestors of today's Kwakiutl, with a measure of that power.
During their winter ceremonial season, the Kwakiutl acknowledge and reaffirm their connection with the supernatural world by performing sacred dance dramas, or tseka . The performers dress in strips of cedar bark and wear masks elaborately designed to invoke the spirits of their supernatural forebears. The dances themselves illustrate characters and incidents from Kwakiutl mythology.
CONTACTS:
Kwakiutl Nation
Fort Rupert Reserve
P.O. Box 1440
Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0 Canada
250-949-6012; fax: 250-949-6066
www.kwakiutl.ca
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013
202-633-1000
www.si.edu
SOURCES:
EncyNatAmerRel-2001, p. 333
EndurHarv-1995, p. 140
RelHolCal-2004, p. 254