Traditionally, owls are known for being the messenger of bad omens or death; however, Franz Boaz recorded George Hunts explanation of the owl in Kwakwaka’wakw society, which is that all men and women possess the owl mask, and at death, move towards that mask and become an owl. He explained that to shoot an owl was the same charge as to murder a human, and that if one asked an owl their name, the owl would answer.


In other First Nations cultures, owls are believed to speak the languages of all the people. Owl is depicted with large round eyes, and a small, curved beak. Owls are sometimes illustrated sitting on tree branches, or in soaring motion, as one who is focused on the hunt.


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)​

Campbell River Museum & Archives

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