Visit the
Virtual Musem of Canada
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'seka Creature Masks
Gikaml - Chief's Dzunuk'wa Mask
Kukwadisilagaml - Listener Mask
Bakwasaml - Wild Man Mask
Dalalagaml - Laugher Mask
Dzunukwaml - Wild Woman Mask
'Nala - Weather
Huxwhukw - Long Beak Cannibal Bird
Galukwaml - Crooked Beak Cannibal Bird
Nulamalagaml - Fool Dancer Mask
Sisiyutl - Sea Serpent

Unlock the card for this item
Dzunuk'wa - Wild Woman Mask
Dzunuwa is the Wild Woman of the Woods. She controls the water of life and can bring back the dead by sprinkling this magic liquid on them. Her power is such that her very presence causes mortals to swoon or have nightmares.

Dzunuwa has a hairy body, pendulous breasts, and purses her lips when she makes her cry: "uu huu uu". She has long, wild hair and wears a large basket on her back to carry away unwary children that she finds in her travels.

Although Dzunuwa has children of her own, she collects the children of mortals that she plans to eat. She captures these children and tries to take them to her remote house in the woods, but the children always manage to outwit her and escape.

Dzunuwa is not often seen today because she does not like the sounds of contemporary life, like powerboats. She will steal smoked salmon and other food from humans and will reward those who help her.

Dance and Regalia:
The last dances of the seka may be the dzunuwa. You can always recognize her. She is a crazy, wild woman from the woods with lips rounded and sticking out. She has large breasts hanging down, and makes a swooping motion with her hands portraying the putting of children into the basket that she wears on her back.

The Dzunuwa may also come out during the ta'sala. There is also a Chief's Dzunuwa, which is the last dance that comes out at the potlatch of a new Chief. A relative will go out and put the great Chief's Dzunuwa mask or Gikam on the new Chief. He doesn't dance; he just stands there and chants "Hoooooo".

Mask's Story:
This mask was owned by Price Bruce, who is from the Ma'amtagila First Nation originally from I'tsikan (Etsekin). It returned to the U'mista Cultural Centre from the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 1979.
Dzunuk'wa - Wild Woman Mask (large version)
See video about this item
Watch Vera Newman talk about Dzunuk'wa.
Watch Vera Newman talk about Dzunuk'wa (select player below).

This clip is 0:57 long.
Microsoft Media Player Logo
Click here to go to the download page for Apple's QuickTime Player
Apple Quicktime Logo
Project Credits