Atłakima or dance of the forest spirits mask, white-washed face with cedar bark beard, natural hair.
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Forest Spirit Mask

The dance of the Forest Spirits can include up to 40 masked dancers. This dance tells the story of a boy who runs away from his abusive father to kill himself. In the forest, he meets a supernatural mouse who takes him to another realm where he meets the Forest Spirits. He returns to his village and shares the stories and dances of the Forest Spirits with his people.

Catalogue Information


Owned by Harry Mountain until its forced surrender to Indian Agent William Halliday on 25 March, 1922. Halliday later displayed and photographed the seized pieces at the Parish Hall in Alert Bay. After doing an inventory, he crated the items in June, and at the end of September he shipped them to Edward Sapir at the National Museum of Man (now the Canadian Museum of History). They remained the property of the NMM until their repatriation by the U’mista and Nuyumbalees Cultural Societies in 1979.


Wood, Alder; Bark, Cedar; Hair, Horse; Fibre, Flax; Metal, Steel


36.5 cm x 23.5 cm x 12.0 cm

Accession Number


Physical Description

Humanoid face mask, painted overall white with enamel paint. Black and white horsehair is attached above the eyebrows and the forehead; it falls down on either side of the mask to resemble long hair. A throat covering composed of alternate strips of dyed and undyed red cedar bark is attached under the chin. The eyebrows are painted black. The eyes are solid black circles and, remarkably, they are not carved through. The outer eyelid line is highlighted in black, the inner eyelid line is carved out. The nostrils are carved through.