Fact Sheet

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Introduction to Sisiyutł:

The Sisiyutł is a double-headed serpent and one of the most powerful figures in Kwakwaka’wakw tradition. The Sisiyutł has a frightening snake-like body with two serpent heads that extend in opposite directions from the human-like face in the center. Curved horns protrude from each serpent head, and two horns extend from the central human head. Red tongues, often elongated, stick out from each snake-like mouth.

A Sisiyutł has powerful abilities of transformation and can change into a salmon or even a canoe. To touch or see the dangerous Sisiyutł means certain death. However, for some, particularly warriors, Sisiyutl brings supernatural power. A drop of Sisiyutł blood can cause a warrior’s skin to turn to armor. The skin of a Sisiyutł is said to make a belt that allows the person wearing it to perform superhuman feats.

The image of Sisiyutł is often displayed as a family crest, and is painted or carved on house fronts and panels, totem poles and ceremonial objects. Sisiyutł can also be a długwe’, which is a treasure or supernatural power.