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Hamat'sa Society is the most prestigious Secret Society of the Kwakwaka’wakw. Legend speaks of a group of brothers who got lost while hunting, and came upon an ominous house with red smoke rising from its roof. Though the owner of the house was not present, they discovered one of the house posts was a live woman whose legs were planted into the floor. This woman warned them about the owner of the house and told them his name was BaxwbakwalanuksiwE. 


BaxwbakwalanuksiwE was a man-eating creature with four cannibal birds. One variation of this legend illustrates BaxwbakwalanuksiwE with blood-sucking mouths all over his body.

In another version of this legend, the brothers tricked BaxwbakwalanuksiwE into a pit, then killed him with hot stones. Through their defeat of this terrible creature, the brothers gained supernatural powers and brought home many incredible treasures, including whistles, masks, and costumes which would later be used in sacred rituals. There is speculation that BaxwbakwalanuksiwE was assisted by an old ogre of a woman, and many believe she may have been Dzunukwa (Wild Woman of the Woods). 


Hamat'sa Society is still very active within Kwakwaka’wakw society today.


Huxwhukw is a supernatural crane bird whose long beak is known for crushing skulls and plucking out the eyeballs of his victims.


Franz Boas Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste Amerikas (2006)

Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art  (2000)

Campbell River Museum & Archives