Haida masks main content.

Haida masks

Part of Northwest Coast Hall.

1 HAIDA masks hero

Exhibition Text

Masks were worn by members of secret societies who danced on ceremonial occasions. The dancers were believed to be possessed by various spirits such as the Wolf, Grizzly Bear, Fire-throwing spirit, Gambling spirit, and others. Haida masks sometimes represented one of these spirits; but more often their connections with the spirits of the secret societies were not clear. A mask representing a woman is very common. The Haida derived the idea of the secret society from the Tsimshian, who in turn had derived it from the Kwakiut.