Xisiwe’ or wolf mask, one of several with long snout and large teeth, snarling expression, painted red and black with mottled pattern cotton head cover
View Interactive Version

« Back to Collection



The Kwak´wala word for wolf headdress, xisiwe’ means, “bared teeth on the forehead.” Wolf dancers perform solo or in a pack with a leader, imitating a real wolf pack. In ceremonies, wolves can appear in three different ways; as a member of the tribe of the myth people, an ancestor of one of the ‘namima or extended family groups, or as a being who initiates apprentices.


Iwakalas, Harry Hanuse, Mamalilikala (Village Island)

Catalogue Information


Owned by Harry Hanuse until its forced surrender to Indian Agent William Halliday on March 25, 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 some of them to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, on long-term loan from the National Museum of Man (now the Canadian Museum of History). They remained in the possession of the ROM until the NMM pulled its loan and returned the pieces to the Nuyumbalees and U'mista cultural societies in 1988. In September 1993 Dan Hanuse Sr. requested that his father's pieces be transferred from Nuyumbalees to U'mista as per the wishes of the majority of Harry Hanuse's descendants.


Wood, Cedar; Paint; Fibre, Linen, Cotton; Metal


12.0 cm x 16.0 cm x 47.0 cm

Accession Number


Physical Description

Carved and painted wolf headdress. The underside of the jaw has cloth nailed on with U-shaped design in black. The head cover cloth attached to the top and side is extremely fragile with many holes, tears, and stains. Black U forms extending the mask designs are painted onto it. Bark on the head support is loose.