Da̱xda̱xa̱luł Owl - Harry Alfred
Da̱xda̱xa̱luł or Owl
The Owl is one of the characters that appear in both the T̕seḵa and Tła’sa̱la ceremonies. The Owl is often seen in the dance Długwa’yi or Animal Kingdom that originated in Shoal Harbor near Gilford Island. The dance is a reenactment of a man named Wawip̓igesuwe’ who was able to befriend Mouse-Woman who was sent out of the supernatural cave to investigate a human who had been sensed during a sacred winter dance ceremony. After gaining the trust and bribing the mouse, Wawip̓igesuwe’ was able to get closer to the entrance of the sacred cave. On his fourth advance, mouse instructed him to jump into the cave as the A’niyus the Ba̱k̕wa̱s, the Supernatural-One of the Animal Kingdom danced by. Following his instructions, the man jumped in and caught all the animals dancing and singing in human form. From their shame of being discovered without their skins, the animals decided to bestow their dance of the animals on Wawip̓igesuwe’. From that day forward, the descendants of Wawip̓igesuwe’ have continued to show this privilege of the dance of the "Animal Kingdom".
In the dance of the Animal Kingdom, Owl represents the "Wise One" and the keeper of their knowledge. Every animal has its role and teachings as a part of this ceremony. In Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw culture, Owl is associated with ill fortune and is often the messenger of death. Particularly the large Snowy-White Owl, to see this omen is a sure sign of death. To hear the owl call your name is a calling for you to join the spirits of the dead, and it is believed you will soon die. The Owl is a rare privilege and is not seen often. The families that have a right to show this mask have a special story that allows them to perform this prerogative.
Back to Masks
back to top