The owl is associated with the night due to its nocturnal habits and some believe is the one we go to in our death.
The ancestors of the Divided Tribe went to Cave to gather herring-spawn, with their chief Potlatch-Giver. There is a high hill at Cave, and it falls down steep to the sea. He did this dangerous thing all the time. Then his attendants became angry on account of what he was doing, and his four attendants planned that they would kill the chief. One of them said that they would follow and push him down from the place where he used to stand. In the morning, when day came, Potlatch-Giver again went to the dangerous place to which he used to go. Then the warrior attendant walked along on the rock, and when he came up, pushed him down. Then the chief fell down, and what else should happen? He died.
After the chief had been hidden for four days, an Owl came. He spoke, and said, "Oh friend Potlatch-Giver! Arise and try this owl mask, da
luáamá. Then Potlatch-Giver put on the owl mask, and Owl spoke, " Go on, try to fly!" Potlatch-Giver tried to fly, but he just turned over and Owl said, "O friend Potlatch-Giver! You are bad at flying. Go on, take off the daxdaxaluáamá. " When people are dead, they always come to me, Da
Dance and Regalia:
This mask is carved from one piece of red cedar with a harness of rope tied through holes drilled in the top and sides of the mask. A piece of white cloth (with a commercially printed pattern) is nailed to the back, along the top and side edges. The Owl dancer moves sparingly, posing like a bird with head thrust forward, round eyes staring straight ahead. Suddenly he crouches, drawing his head down between hunched shoulders, owl-like. He thrusts again, this time staring to one side, and again recoils. His movements are quick, separated by long moments of intense immobility. His song, sung by a seated chorus lined along the back wall of the Big House and accompanied by the striking of hardwood batons on a drum log, mentions the owl. At a change of rhythm the dancer turns to face his attendants, bending low and holding his blanket to shield his head from view. The attendants quickly take his mask and he turns and dances now with his face exposed.
This mask is believed to have been carved by Willie Seaweed and was owned by Bond Sound. Following the surrender of the potlatch regalia this mask was sent to the National Museum of Man, now the Canadian Museum of Civilization and was returned to U'mista Cultural Centre in 1979.