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The Story of the Masks
Introductions The Potlatch The Masks Site Index
Click to see the T'seka Animal Masks Click to see the T'seka Mythical Creature Masks Click to see the T'lasala Animal Masks Click to see the T'lasala Mythical Creature Masks
T'lasala Mythical Creature Masks
Yakwiwe' - Peace Dance Frontlet and Ermine Cape
Kulus - Sister to Thunderbird
Kwankwanxwalige' - Thunderbird
Sapagaml - Echo Mask
T'lisalagaml - Sun Mask
'Makwalagaml - Moon Mask

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Kulus - Sister to Thunderbird
Kulus is a younger relative to Thunderbird and is usually thought of as female and smaller in stature than her older brother. Kulus does not have feathers; instead her entire body is covered with a thick down, the soft under feathers of birds.

Legend:
In preparation for the great flood, Chief Ma'amtagila constructs a waterproof house and gathers his clan in to escape the disaster. The waters come and the clan is spared. After many days, the Chief, who has taken four birds into refuge, releases them one by one. Three do not return but finally the fourth bird comes back bringing a twig of green cedar signifying safety and that the waters have receded. Chief Ma'amtagila then sends his sons to populate the world and transforms himself into the supernatural Kulus and flies away. His constructive spirit and lesson are ceremonially respected to this day.

Dance and Regalia:
The dancer cocks his head to one side, slowly sweeping its piercing eye across the house, then tilts and reverses his swing as the song describes the Kulus, calling it, Screecher mask. Hunched shoulders and falling folds of blanket imitate great wings of Kulus. Some families will wear a cape of bearskin.

This carved wooden mask has a wide curved beak with a separate lower jaw hinged with cords. Nails secure mirrored glass eyes and large and small pieces of rubberized fabric nailed to the back of the mask.

Mask's Story:
Following the surrender of the Potlatch regalia in 1922 the mask was sent to the National Museum of Man, now the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It was returned to the Kwagiulth Museum Cultural Centre in 1979 and transferred to the U'mista Culture Centre in 1995.
Kulus - Thunderbird's Sister (large version)
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