Kwigwis or sea eagle costume of denim jacket, sewn or tied bunches of feathers, painted and carved wooden feathers hung from arms
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Sea Eagle Costume

You are most likely to see the Kwigwis during the Tła'sala ceremony in a potlatch. The Kwigwis dancer will enter the dance floor through the front entrance. When a dancer enters from the front of the Big House, it means he is coming from the sea realm.

Catalogue Information


Owned by Bondsound 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 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.


Fibre, Cotton; Wood, Cedar; Paint; Feather, Seagull; Feather; Metal, Iron; Skin


77.0 cm x 99.0 cm

Accession Number


Physical Description

Bird outfit comprised of a short blue-green work jacket in cotton denim and carved wood pieces. Sewn or tied to it are bunches of feathers with the down and skin still attached. Tied to the sleeves are wooden bars terminating in carved bird heads (ravens?) with movable lower jaws. Tied to these are rows of long wooden slats representing flight feathers, eleven on each side. They are tied loosely at the base ends and threaded together in the middle. These slats feature a red and black pattern of split U’s, crescents and dashes painted on natural wood. Blue-green, natural wood, red, and black.