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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

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Nulamalagaml - Fool Dancer Mask
The Nuama 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 Nuama, 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 Nuama dancer is seated in the mucous. In the "tradition of the 'Nawaxda'xw" or Ten Clan Tribe, Shameless the Deer, younger brother to the Chief-of-the-Ancients, was the first Nuama dancer among all of the tribes. In the story of how the Mamalilikala acquired the use of the red cedar bark and the traditions of the winter ceremonial from their ancestors, the Nuama 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 Nuama 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 Nuama 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.

Mask's Story:
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.
Nulamalagaml - Fool Dancer Mask (large version)
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