ma‡ derive their power from a "fabulous people" who live on an island floating on a lake. Their greatly exaggerated noses are always running and it is believed that their power is in the mucous. It is said that a hunter came upon the Nu‡a
ma‡, and upon his return he would constantly smear nose mucous all over his own body.
During the initiation, older society members smear mucous upon new inductees. This is important since the power of the Nu‡a
ma‡ dancer is seated in the mucous. In the "tradition of the 'Na„waxda'x
w" or Ten Clan Tribe, Shameless the Deer, younger brother to the Chief-of-the-Ancients, was the first Nu‡a
ma‡ dancer among all of the tribes. In the story of how the Mama
la acquired the use of the red cedar bark and the traditions of the winter ceremonial from their ancestors, the Nu‡a
ma‡ dancer is one of many who dance, sing and utter their cries at the beginning of the first ceremonial.
Dance and Regalia:
In recent potlatch performances, the costume of the dancer wearing the Nu‡a
ma‡ mask will have a pocket concealed under the undecorated blanket that he wears on his shoulders. In this pocket are strands of green, lettuce-like marine algae, which blossoms in the summer months along the beach. Strips of this will be removed from the hiding place, swept across the nose of the dance mask and then hurled into the audience as he shouts "yi-hi-hiii". During the potlatch, the Nu‡a
ma‡ ensures that proper etiquette is observed and, along with the Grizzly Bear, ensures that food is distributed in proper order, with Chiefs and guests eating first.
Joseph Speck originally owned this mask. It was surrendered to the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 1922 and returned to the U'mista Cultural Centre in 1979.